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Even in the cloud, IT has big role to play

  
  
  

iStock 000019208898XSmallThere is a common misconception among IT pros, especially the ones who cut their teeth in a time before the cloud, that at worst it's a vast conspiracy to take away their jobs, and at best it's giving all your valuable data and content to a third party vendor who doesn't care about you. 

In reality, as I've talked to IT Pros over the last several years, they lie upon a spectrum. There are those who are virulently anti-cloud and there are the the true believers who are all in on the cloud and see all the benefits it provides; how it frees the business from running data centers and lets them concentrate on their core competencies, that it's elastic and can grow or shrink as needed; that you only pay for what you use. 

But many others lie somewhere in the middle, ready to listen, but taking a more cautious approach. One IT executive I spoke to recently suggested he wasn't averse to new ways of operating. In fact, his company had embraced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and he wasn't anti-cloud, but he worried if took his company to the cloud, then changed his mind, what would happen then? Once his data center was closed and he had committed to the cloud, he couldn't afford to build out the data center again.

The fact is, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing approach, but more importantly, no matter what degree you embrace the cloud, it doesn't represent the end of IT. Tony Byrne, who is president at Real Story Group says what it does require is a new way of doing your job. 

Speaking this week at the Gilbane Conference in Boston, Byrne pointed out that part of the problem is how cloud computing is being marketed and sold. "One of the themes that links cloud and mobile," Byrne says, "is the idea of freedom and liberation." He says this is on two levels: the freedom to communicate and work and anywhere and freedom from IT and network and servers (and by extension complex and often obtuse enterprise software).

But Byrne, who personally believes most companies will settle on hybrid approach with some services in the cloud and others in the company data center, says it doesn't mean the end of IT in spite of this freedom argument.

He says that IT still has a role to play and if the vendors don't respect that, IT pros must push back. "You still need systems and networks people and certainly developers in the new world of the cloud," he explained. But what you can't do is simply abdicate responsibility because you are so frustrated with this changing environment. Byrne says instead, you have to push back against vendors who are suggesting you don't have a role to play.

But he says, IT also needs to make some adjustments about it works in order to align with the changes going on in IT today. That means IT needs to focus on a new set of skills which align business and IT in a much more concrete way than in the past. The Cloud isn't an escape route. It's new path to getting work done, and IT pros must adjust to this or risk their worst nightmare scenarios of obsolescence.

It's worth noting that sometimes companies need help through major transitions like the ones rocking IT today and finding consultants who are well versed in this type of organizational change can help your company make these types of transformations more smoothly.

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