Although the hype might lead you to believe differently, cloud computing is not the first innovation to hit IT. In fact, IT has been on a transformational journey since its inception. This journey has at least three dimensions, and any good cloud strategy should support all three.
1. Extending IT’s reach
Traditionally IT ran the computers and the applications that were used exclusively by employees. This exclusivity is long gone, as applications are now accessed directly by customers and by employees of partners and subcontractors. In some cases, applications reach out directly to suppliers or even suppliers of suppliers. Similarly, the type of applications is extending from basic administrative systems to advanced analytical (big data) and converged (VoIP, Video) social and collaborative apps.
2. Abstraction – Moving up in the food chain
In the beginning, companies did not buy computers — they had to build their own. Later on, computers did not come with software or an operating system; the customer was expected to build it himself, first in assembler, the in 3GLs, 4GLs, etc. This was the typical routine until standard software packages became available. The point is that IT for years has been moving from extremely technical detailed work to higher level tasks. This requires appropriate conceptual models, and for cloud, these are still evolving or even yet to be discovered.
3. Sourcing – Divide and conquer
As IT organizations moved on, they started to subcontract, outsource, offshore, and procure as-a-service more and more tasks that they used to do in-house.
Often cloud is seen in context of just one of these dimensions (only as sourcing, or just as a way to extend who IT is reaching or to procure services differently). In my view, a good cloud strategy should be three-dimensional and enable you to Extend, Abstract and Source Your IT. Something us acronym crazy IT folks maybe should call EASY IT?