Peter Cutts is the VP of Cloud Solutions at EMC.
The prolific growth of the public cloud over the last several years has propelled many organizations into the future, leaving IT departments understandably questioning what their role is and should be in this new world.
Outsourcing next generation applications and resource requirements to public cloud leaders like Amazon and Dropbox certainly yields many advantages, such as low price point, speed and agility, but does it also mean the demise of the traditional IT department? Moving forward, will IT resources be delivered exclusively via public clouds?
When it comes to private versus public cloud, we are no longer living in a black and white, “either/or” world. Rather, the businesses that truly harness the power of both public and private cloud are finding that they have a significant advantage over their “either/or” peers. The truth is that despite the allure of the public cloud, we still need IT at the helm. We trust and depend heavily on our IT departments to make crucial decisions around security, governance and performance. And after all, they have a vested interest in brokering the best solutions for their company that will ultimately drive business acceleration and the bottom line.
Businesses need their IT departments looking out for them and IT departments need to prove their value to the business by showing off their agility, service capabilities and innovation.
Solving Business Problems First
Fast, cheap, and flexible. This will always be a business’s preferred approach to solving a problem. However, when it comes to efficiently managing workloads, there are other complicated considerations that come into play, and what’s fast, cheap and flexible in the moment might not turn out to be the best business decision in the long run.
The IT department, arguably the central nerve of the company, is in a singularly unique position to map out, make a case and broker a solution for the private/public/on-premises/off-premises mix that makes the most strategic sense for their organization. A hybrid cloud model allows IT to determine the most suitable mechanism based on specific workload requirements and make adjustments as needed – a competitive differentiator that no public cloud provider is able to claim.
So how can the IT department navigate these changes and present a solution that benefits both the business and its own interest? By focusing on a hybrid cloud solution that addresses the business and workload problems of internal stakeholders, IT can ultimately reaffirm its relevance and strategic value to the organization.
Making the Case for Hybrid
In the past, IT generally had the final say on the best way to deliver services to their clients. Today, however, instances of ‘shadow IT’ have increased when a business user feels there is a better, faster, or cheaper answer to his or her workload requirements than the solution being proposed by the in-house IT department. Unfortunately, the battle against shadow IT is still ongoing, so it falls on IT departments to make the case for why businesses should steer clear of the outdated ‘either/or’ scenario and focus on a hybrid solution that is effective, user-friendly, and benefits the wider organization.
In other words, IT departments need to keep their primary focus on the end-user experience, and provide plenty of transparency and communication along the way. A seamless user experience is key for business users to become more receptive to an IT solution that balances both types of clouds in order to maximize security, performance, cost, and compliance.
The Time is Now
While the role of the in-house IT department is shifting, it’s far from becoming obsolete. In a recent survey from The Economist Intelligence Unit, Line of Business managers indicated by a margin of nearly three to one that they would prefer their IT departments to broker all services for them.
Delivering the right hybrid cloud solution for the organization – and by extension the right balance of cost, security and efficiency – will ultimately reinforce the value and expertise of the in-house IT department. IT is already poised to make the best recommendations to bring value to the business – they just need to continue to deliver a great user experience and make their voices heard.
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