From IT department to cloud service desk

Why build something yourself it the market can do it better, faster, and at a lower cost? This is a key question many IT departments will have to be prepared to answer. Why? Cloud computing is putting the control over applications purchasing firmly into the hands of the business user. Bypassing IT will become more popular simply because IT resources can be bought with the same ease that Internet users are now buying an airline ticket, check in online and reserve a seat without any help of the travel department.

Major changes in the way businesses architect and operate IT are causing the shift described above. IT architecture – def: a style and method of design and construction of ICT infrastructure – is radically moving from a manual, scheduled, and physical orientated architecture to an automated, on-demand, and virtual architecture. The control of IT operations – def: ongoing recurring activities involved in the running of ICT infrastructure for the purpose of producing value for the business – is moving from the customer to the supplier as is infrastructure ownership, and services responsibility.

At the intersection of the trend movements in IT architecture design and operations control, public and private cloud computing emerge as two new computing paradigms. The figure below graphically represents these new paradigms, positioned against traditional IT and outsourcing.

Mapping future IT onto these 4 computing paradigms is a major strategic issue for the IT director and CIO. The reality will be that a mix of all 4 paradigms will be present within large organizations simultaneously for the foreseeable future. Future IT will not be just a choice between sourcing services from private, hybrid, or public clouds. Future IT will be about balancing traditional and new styles of IT architecture and operations. The Metis Files will be writing more insights on this topic in the future, so stay tuned!

Getting back to the main subject of this insight (why do something yourself if the market can do it better?) we believe the best way forward is not to frustrate business users not allowing them to make use of cloud, but to help them in choosing the right cloud service. Much as the current travel rules within an organization allow business users to book their own flights, provided they do this with a previously vetted airline, the clever IT department will vet cloud services and provide business users with a menu of approved cloud services. This is by no means a trivial task, particularly when cloud service providers struggle to provide openness around security, compliance, and reliability of their cloud services.

Many IT departments might see a new role for themselves in building private clouds. But we repeat: why build something yourself if the market can do it better, faster, and at a lower cost? Only heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare will have a real need to do this. For most IT departments the foreseeable balance of IT architecture and operations will be in traditional IT, traditional outsourcing and public cloud, with only a little bit in private cloud.

Bottom line: CIOs need to look at balancing cloud and traditional architecture and operations. Business users are likely to pass by the internal IT department, simply because cloud gives them the opportunity to do so. IT departments may not like to put more control in the hands of the business, but they will have to do this proactively or risk compliance chaos. Vetting cloud services and have a cloud service desk present business users with a menu of approved cloud services is the way forward.

(Previously published on

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS

About Pim Bilderbeek