Over the last month or so, I’ve written about how IT pros need to be more than technology plumbers in your organization. You also need thought leaders and innovators around technology and help move the organization forward. And a big part of that is embracing cloud computing.
I know from past experience writing about the cloud that many veteran IT pros have been downright dismissive of the cloud, but as we have seen, like it or not, many companies are embracing it or at least thinking about it.
Instead of being the naysayer, try instead to get out in front of the cloud debate in your company. In his recent article in InfoWorld, 12 effective habits of indispensable IT pros, author Dan Tynan put Keep your head in the cloud as number 4.
Why does he think it’s so important? Because as he points out, “so many traditional IT functions are moving to the cloud.” You can try to stop it or you can use your skills and understanding of technology to get in front of it and help lead your company to make solid decisions.
And that doesn’t mean throwing up roadblocks and pointing out every negative possibility. It means being a leader and finding a way to make it work for your organization. It means building your skill levels to understand and define a set of reasonable alternatives for any given cloud service.
Take a cool look at your data center and try to determine which services you could realistically move offsite using a service. Make a list of mission critical services in your organization and be honest with yourself. Remember that 10 years ago, you probably wouldn’t have used a service to store your valuable customer data, yet many companies are doing that today with Salesforce.com.
Once you determine which services are most critical, you can reasonably assume you want to keep those behind the firewall, but armed with your list of non-critical services, you can start to look at and evaluate the alternatives in each category.
You can compile a list of vendors, you think are reasonably trustworthy based on their track record, but don’t let every outage automatically disqualify any vendor unless there is really a pattern of shoddy service. Why?
Because ultimately, any online service is a data center, and as you know as an IT Pro all too well, things happen and systems go down, even when you did your best to keep them going.
Once you have a list of possible vendors in each category, you’re armed and ready to speak intelligently at meetings and act as the technology thought leader you and your department should be in your company.
One thing the rise of cloud computing and the overall seismic technology shifts we’ve seen over the last several years is that you cannot sit back and think the old way is the only way. Things change quickly in technology and it’s your job to make sure you’re ahead of the company, not chasing your users in this regard.