Use Cloud to Renew IT’s focus
You’d think that information technology initiatives are measured by their ability to achieve business goals, but for most companies today, this isn’t the case. In traditional IT environments, infrastructure is the realm of engineers and business objectives are the realm of product developers, marketers and accountants, and never (or rarely at least) the twain shall meet. The main reasons for the misalignment include:
- Over-specialization of technology management- data center technology has a legacy of engineers focused on their domains in isolation. Because each element (server, storage, network, database, application) of data center technology was so complex, it required dedicated experts to understand their domain, and they had little time to understand the relationships with other domains. This has led to the blind men describing the elephant — they can perceive their piece, but don’t see the whole.
- Politics- humans compete naturally, and when you set up a playing field with separate budgets and goals for each technology realm, the smart managers who own each piece strive to make their part of the technology ecosystem the most important, the fastest and hold the biggest budget and staff. To the detriment of the solution as a whole in many cases.
- Limited understanding between technologists and consumers- because each technology team is so busy trying to get their technology to be stable, reliable, efficient and at current upgrade levels, they have little time to devote to understanding the business objectives they support. And vice versa from the perspective of the lines of business- the technology is too complicated and abstracted for them to advocate effectively for the results they really want, leading to conflict and confusion.
Cloud and effective cloud management have the potential to improve this situation. Whether it’s public, private or hybrid cloud really doesn’t matter. The point is that IT should become a service — clearly described to the consumers and automated enough for them to do the provisioning themselves, but within the bounds set by the IT organization that built or bought the cloud service. The service is holistic- it includes everything needed to make it work; consumers don’t need to evaluate each component and admins must look at the big picture rather than focusing only on the speeds and feeds of a single aspect. The service is metered and transparent, so everyone can see how much capacity is consumed and available, which flavors are hot and which are idle, what the performance and reliability look like, and how much it all costs.
Over-busy IT infrastructure teams can move from building the total solutions to building approved technology templates, and safely hand over the reins to other lines of business to finalize the solution they actually need. Delivery accelerates because IT doesn’t need to wade as deeply into the guts of the business problem, and the business doesn’t need to wait for IT to do everything for them. Security is improved because business people can refine their solution within the boundaries set by IT.
A successful cloud deployment can make everybody’s life easier and more efficient but it’s not all about technology. When planning for transformation in your environment, focus on the improved understanding of objectives that you want see come out of it — make sure that business goals remains paramount, and that both the business side and the IT side know their role in bringing about that objective.
For more thought provoking cloud management insights visit vmware-erdos.com.