Re-reading a book I received a couple years ago, I found this expression “walk the escalator”. The book is titled “Jump the Curve, 50 essential strategies to help your company stay ahead of emerging technologies” and written by futurologist Jack Uldrich. He points out that, despite the fact the escalator was created to help us reach the next floor faster, most people stand on the escalator, actually taking longer to get there. It’s a great analogy for cloud and the adoption of cloud by the CIO and the IT department.

The cloud is a fact, according to Mark Thiele it’s not a tactical solution but rather a corporate strategy. So, why are so many CIO’s slow in adopting it? What is holding them back?

Is it job protection? Is it change avoidance? Frankly I don’t know. But I see an increasing amount of business people of the opinion that, with the cloud (and they mean public cloud) out there, the IT department is no longer needed. I personally disagree with this fact, but have to recognize that, when the business got the impression IT became too expensive and inflexible; many explored outsourcing IT all together. Although this happened with varying success,  we might be at a similar inflexion point.

Uldrich quotes Benjamin Franklin “All mankind is divided into three classes, those who are immovable, those who are moveable and those who move”. The fundamental question is in which category you think you are and how the business perceives you.

Whether we like it or not, the role of IT is changing. The enterprise expects more agility and responsiveness from its IT department and many users, frustrated with the current situation, use external services to address their needs. That’s what we call shadow-IT. In the process they host company data on external servers, making assessment of compliance and enterprise risk difficult.

Change is quickly becoming the only constant in our fast moving world. The CIO has to make the decision to lead this change (move) or he/she will be pushed aside (moveable) in the near future. In that process a couple elements need to be put in place:

  • Governance between business and IT to clearly understand and prioritize the needs
  • Sourcing strategy to define where services will be sourced from

We need to reverse the thinking, looking first at sourcing the service from external providers prior to developing and delivering the service internally. In doing so, the IT department will be able to focus on the key services that clearly differentiate the enterprise from its competitors. It will also give IT the possibility to act as the technology consultants to the business, helping them exploit the full potential of information technology in their business, helping to grow the company through performance improvements and innovation.

So, do not just walk the escalator to keep in shape, but do it to pro-actively transform your IT department in a competitive advantage for the company as a whole.

The complete version of this blogpost was posted in CloudSource.

If you are interested in understanding how you can move existing applications t a cloud and you happen to come to HP Discover, why don’t you plan to join my session (TB2051) on Thursday June 7th at 11:15AM in room Titian 2205? I’ll focus on the architectural aspects of transforming apps to the cloud and how they can integrate across a converged cloud. I would really like to meet you there.