How the cloud is revolutionizing roles in the IT department

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Many people see cloud as an evolution of outsourcing. By moving their traditional information technology (IT) resources into a public cloud, clients can focus on their core business differentiators. Cloud doesn’t nix the need for the hardware, software and systems management—it merely encapsulates and shields the user from those aspects. It puts IT in the hands of the external specialists working inside the cloud. And by centralizing IT and skills, a business can reduce cost and risk while focusing on its core skills to improve time to market and business agility.

But where does this leave the client’s IT department? Can they all go home, or do some of the roles remain? Are there actually new roles created? Will they have the skills needed for this new environment?

Changes Crossroad SignLet’s look in more detail at some of these roles and the impact that the extreme case of moving all IT workloads to external cloud providers would have on them:

IT strategy

Strategic direction is still important in the new environment. Business technology and governance strategy are still required to map the cloud provider’s capabilities to the business requirements. Portfolio management and service management strategies have increased importance to analyze investments, ascertain value and determine how to get strategic advantage from the standardized services offered by cloud. However, the role of enterprise architecture is significantly simplified.

Control is still needed although the scope is significantly reduced. IT management system control retains some budgetary control, but much of its oversight, coordination and reporting responsibilities are better performed elsewhere. Responsibility for portfolio value management and technology innovation is mainly handed to the cloud provider.

At the operational level, project management is still required. Knowledge management has reduced scope, but best practices and experiences will still need to be tracked.

IT administration

The scope of IT business modeling is reduced, as many of the functions in the overall business and operational framework are no longer required.

There are changes in administration control. Sourcing relationships and selection are critical for the initiation and management of relationships with providers. Financial control and accounting will continue to manage all financial aspects of IT operations. Human resources planning and administration are still required, but the number of people supported is reduced. Site and facility administration is no longer needed.

All of the operational roles in IT administration have increased importance. IT procurement and contracts as well as vendor service coordination are needed to manage the complex relationships between the enterprise and cloud provider. Customer contracts and pricing is needed for the allocation of cloud costs to internal budgets as well as providing a single bill for services from multiple cloud providers.

Service delivery and support

The main casualties of the move to cloud are the build and run functions. The service delivery strategy will remain in house, although it becomes largely redundant once the strategic decision has been made to source solely from the cloud. Responsibility for the service support strategy moves to the cloud provider.

Service delivery control and service support planning move to cloud provider. Infrastructure resource planning functions are likely to be subsumed into the customer contracts and pricing administration role.

Responsibility for service delivery operations and infrastructure resource administration moves to cloud provider. The help desk and desk-side support services from service support operations remain essential activities for initial level one support, but beyond this, support will be offered by the cloud provider.

Further observations

Governance is a critical capability, particularly around maintaining control over software as a service adoption. Integration of services will be a challenge, but perhaps this will also be available as a service in the future. Relationships with partners and service providers in all guises will become increasingly important.

There is a potential issue with skills. With many of the traditional junior roles in development and operations moving outside the enterprise, it’s hard to see how candidates for these new strategy and coordination roles will gain the experience they need. Academia has an important part to play in ensuring that graduates are equipped with the right skills.

In summary:

• Most current job roles remain, although many have reduced scope or importance.
• Fewer strategic roles are impacted than control or operational ones.
• Build and Run are the main functions which move to the cloud providers.
• Planning and commercial skills are key, linking the IT department more closely to the business.

Can you think of other roles that will be affected by the coming changes? Is your organization ready? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.

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