Technology

Are you guiding your business into the cloud?

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SAP---Colt

 

Now be honest; are you the sort of IT manager that leads innovation or blocks it?

According to Colt’s IT Services Sales Director Scott Holmes, managers have a simple choice to make in cloud implementation projects: lead the way in adopting the cloud across your business or risk becoming irrelevant. Scott tells Think Bigger about the challenges that the IT workforce faces and how the IT manager can become a pioneer for their business.

The changing role of the IT manager

We know that managing your existing environment is already a full time job. There are few IT managers that would say their environment is perfect but the hectic pace of business gives them little chance to change it.

You may have inherited a system that wasn’t set up the way you’d like, or you may have built one some time ago that simply doesn’t meet the requirements of today’s demanding mobile workforce.

Either way, IT managers often have to spend most of their time managing an existing environment and ensuring that the lights stay on. As a result, they simply don’t have the time to innovate and contribute to the competitive advantage of the organisation

Who’s in control?

Like it or not though, your colleagues are becoming more and more comfortable with the cloud. Whether it’s for email, file sharing or something else, individuals are using all sorts of cloud services in their personal lives and understanding how these services could help them at work.

Of course, IT managers know this already and are often approached by departments that want to utilise the cloud. What staff may not appreciate is that their administrators must consider more than just whether a service makes life easier.

They need to understand how it works with other systems, whether it’s secure and whether it fits into the appropriate regulatory frameworks.

Unfortunately, this can lead to IT managers being seen as blockers to innovation. That’s why, in some cases, individual departments are actually choosing to bypass IT completely and simply start using new services themselves.

This trend should be a big concern for IT managers. Not only does it mean that IT budget is being spent without their involvement but also that data security could be jeopardised. In the worst cases, it could even make them seem irrelevant and surplus to requirements.

Controlling your company’s cloud adoption

Fortunately, there is another way.

We believe that IT managers are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this new enthusiasm for the cloud. Instead of being seen as blockers, they can be the people that really drive cloud adoption.

In doing so, they’ll achieve three key goals.

They’ll be able to satisfy different departments by encouraging them to use the new services they want. They’ll also be able to show management that they’re taking advantage of the cost and connectivity benefits that the cloud provides.

Importantly, they’ll be able to control the way these new services fit into existing infrastructure as well as how and where the data is stored.

The first step to realising these achievements is to truly understand the requirements of the various business functions and their users – actively seek out feedback regarding the usage of systems today and be open to suggestions from users regarding new capabilities.

Then, work with departmental heads to identify and trial cloud services that have the potential to add the functionality that users want, but in a way that aligns with the integration and security requirements of the business.

By approaching the problem in this collaborative manner, functional heads are much more likely to understand the position of IT  – and to be reasonable if a technical requirement introduces a functional compromise.

IT managers have a unique opportunity to enable cloud adoption in the right way because they understand the full implications that these changes involve. If they can lead the way, they will remain at the heart of how their business grows in 2014 and for years to come.