Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is a revolution that will define IT in the second decade of the 21st Century. This new form of computing is perfectly poised to provide solutions to a host of business problems within organizations, large and small.

It’s hard to overstate just how much the IT role is changing in the face of Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing vendors are often quick to use cost reduction as their main selling point for the Cloud, but it would appear that users are more thoughtful than this and perceive the business agility gains to be the number one benefit of a move to the cloud. A recent SandHill report1 found that around 50% of respondents consider agility as their primary reason for adopting the Cloud. A similar result came from Information Week2 which found that over 65% of respondents cited agility to business needs as a driver for Cloud Computing. This new business agility will have a profound effect on IT jobs.

The overall effects of cloud computing on IT jobs will likely resemble those of other trends such as outsourcing, automation, and utility computing: a gradual movement of the IT profession away from the nuts and bolts of technology toward the business end of the organization. A change of paradigm from blue-collar IT to white-collar IT. The cloud is accelerating that penetration movement of technology into the business, with business-process-level expertise becoming more important than ever.  Formerly technology-centric jobs will require a lot more nontechnical, business-oriented capabilities and IT staffers will increasingly come from the business end of the organization.

Tasks in the cloud domain will include:
  • Guiding the company's cloud strategy 
  • Evaluating provider offerings 
  • Negotiating contracts and service 
  • Determining which applications or data are safe or appropriate for the cloud 
  • Collaborating with the company's procurement and legal departments

Cloud computing offers massive scalability - in virtual computing power, storage, and applications resources - all at almost immediate availability and low cost, and business managers are demanding their IT operations assess the benefits this new computing model can represent.    As with all new technologies, there are new risks to be discovered and old risks to be re-evaluated. 

There are several forms of cloud computing.  Each offers different characteristics, varying degrees of flexibility, different collaborative opportunities, and different risks.  Thus one of the key challenges that businesses face when considering cloud computing as an option is to determine how to choose the cloud formation best suited to their various types of business operations.  

New frameworks are emerging to help evaluate, manage the business agility that the cloud opportunity offer. One such framework is the Jericho Cloud Cube model3.

The Cloud Cube does a nice job describing the multi-dimensional elements of Cloud Computing and frames not only Cloud use cases, but also how they are deployed and utilized. The Cloud Cube goes beyond the too simplistic Public vs. Private view and introduces the parameter that allows us to go deeper into the evaluation of Cloud solution.