Cloud promises lower operating costs, reduced (or better managed) risk, and the ability to focus on core business. Maybe even the ability of ICT to be more agile and responsive to business needs.
Absolutely, these are all positive ICT benefits, and moving to cloud-based infrastructure technologies is a legitimate first step for many companies along the pathway to cloud.
But I believe cloud also has the ability to finally help ICT stand up and come of age within a business.
Whichever ICT maturity assessment model is used – CMMI, Gartner or CoBIT etc – the perception of how mature your ICT environment is will affect the success of your projects.
If ICT is considered a follower of the business, running around behind it like a lost child trying to catch up, then it isn’t very mature. The business might listen to it once and a while, but it is there to do what it is told. And with anticipated failure rates of ICT projects routinely put at 50%, and one at 75%, the business probably doesn’t really trust ICT to deliver what it really wants anyway.
Cloud allows ICT to add more value to the relationship. IaaS offerings free up ICT to have more time and resources to focus on truly understanding the business needs and advising the business on suitable technologies. PaaS and SaaS extend this even further, allowing ICT to be even more responsive to process change.
I think the opportunity exists for ICT to move beyond being ‘responsive’ to process change, and into being a leader and instigator of process change.
Cloud platforms like Azure, Salesforce, or even iTunes allows ICT, for the first time, to respond quickly, and cost effectively, to business needs. Building process changes in a matter of hours using drag and drop based systems, rather than weeks of coding, means a far better return on investment on internal ICT resources.
ICT now has the ability to start showing the business what it can do.
As Darryl Plummer, Managing VP of Gartner says, ICT has the opportunity to move from being the people who run things, to being the place where people go to get things done.
Now that’s a mature place to be.
I would be interested to know where any readers see their ICT on the maturity scale, in relation to the business. Is it a reactive, following style of ICT, or does it proactively show the business where it can change, and the business benefits of doing so?
Does your ICT dept keep saying ‘no’ to project requests, citing no budget or the amount of in house resources they have to deliver an already too full project list?
Have you looked at cloud as a way of freeing up in house resources in order for ICT to be able to relate, respond or lead the business more effectively?