What does 100% cloud adoption mean for the IT department?

Generally speaking, up until now, the IT department’s responsibility has been to maintain the organisation’s infrastructure regardless of cost.

With IT providing the backbone to any thriving business, it is no surprise that MDs have favoured security over cost any day – but the advent of cloud computing has changed all of that.

As the economic outlook remains pessimistic, companies are looking for ways to cut costs – often leading to a reduction in staff. With this in mind, IT staff are quick to label the cloud as a passing fad in the fear full adoption could lead to unemployment.

Realistically speaking though, cloud computing doesn’t mean the end of the IT department, in fact; it means the start of a more productive workforce.

The more enlightened members of staff will recognise that the role is changing. Gone are the days of spending all day in the computer room keeping servers up and running.

It is now time for the IT department to stop focusing on the day-to-day maintenance of the server room and instead ensure the company is getting the most out of its software.

There is an ongoing debate between the MD and the IT department in relation to the cloud.

With most IT departments being anti-adoption and most MDs wanting to test the waters of the new ‘buzz word’ - it is no surprise that I am constantly faced with customers wanting the basics of cloud computing explained simply.

More commonly than not I am faced with two different extremes.

Customers come to me wanting to cut costs, outsource their entire network to the cloud and drastically reduce their IT staffing costs. On the other hand, I am faced with customers who are uncertain of what the cloud can offer – opt to outsource a certain portion of their IT network and then slowly but surely outsource more and more.

Realistically, whether you host a percentage of your infrastructure in the cloud or the entire thing is irrelevant – it is a matter of comfort.

Whilst a fully outsourced approach is certainly a sensible and viable approach, some like to know that they can physically see their IT estate in the corner of the room, others are happy to have somebody else take care of the whole thing.

Gone are the days of an employee maintaining their own computer. A PC is now very complicated to run and most office based staff simply require a mouse, screen, keyboard and printer – the complexities of how it’s all run is left to the professionals.

To date, those professionals have been the IT staff in the office downstairs or at the end of the phone, tasked with keeping the business IT afloat. That role is changing. No longer do companies need to rely on their IT department to keep critical servers running – instead they now have the cloud.

The cloud is perfectly capable of keeping a business running, more commonly than not at a reduced cost. Whilst MDs may doubt the safety and reliability of their data, the reality is, hosting such critical data in secured, backed-up data centres should be a comfort.

IT staff within data centres are trained to cope with DR planning, operating system updates, new versions of Exchange etc on a daily basis – unlike an in-house IT department who do it once in a blue moon.

Instead, in-house IT departments should now be tasked with making the most out of the software assets, saving costs and not stuck in a back-end computer room 24x7.

In 95% of cases, 100% cloud adoption makes both business and financial sense. However, as with anything, it is essential to ascertain whether or not the cloud is suitable for the business and whether it offers an improvement on the current situation.

There are certain businesses that rely heavily upon processing large amounts of data – whether that is video streaming, graphic rendering or CAD/CAM usage. Whilst the restraints of cloud computing doesn’t make this a viable option full time, that isn’t to say that cloud back-up isn’t a possibility.

For most, the notion of 100% cloud computing comes down to the age old adage of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. It is human nature to be cautious of the unknown and this doesn’t change when it comes to business.

MDs trust their IT staff implicitly and whilst they are perfectly capable of maintaining the company’s IT network it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should.

It is a case of realising that the IT job role is changing, not vanishing, and through fully understanding the parameters of the cloud, businesses can embrace the new technology and save money in the process. 


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