Why attitudes to IT staff have to change

The cloud may have brought many things – good and not so good, promise and threat in roughly equal measure. Understandably, responses from IT vary greatly. They range from:

a)    Great, it can free me from routine maintenance and management, and really help me make a valid strategic contribution to my organisation.

b)   What’s the number of that IT employment agency again?

Or, as maybe more likely in most cases, the reaction falls somewhere between these two extremes. However, the cloud is with us, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Quite the opposite. It means attitudes have to fall into line with this reality, both within IT and in the business community at large. Here’s a look at how this may happen.

Half full or half empty?

This really is a bit of a glass half full / half empty scenario. The future could be a promised land, on the lines established in version a) above. Migrate to the cloud and you could lose all that tedious administrating, troubleshooting, firefighting, updating, refreshing and all the other ‘ings’ that make your life a misery.

Which would give you lots more time and energy – not to say commitment – and generally free you up to play the strategic business support roles that IT directors have, though no fault of their own, had to just pay lip service to in the past.

You could use some real innovative thinking. You could be proactive, take the lead, streamline operations, improve efficiency, boost productivity and enhance cost-effectiveness. The sort of stuff the books, seminars and blogs like this one are always telling you that you should be doing.

Getting real

All of which is hard to quibble with.  But hey – this is the real world, you know! Will your peers on the board go along with all this? Do they really see you as that dynamic, corporate-goal driven force of nature who pulls this sort of thing off? Or are you, as you always have been, seen as the guy who keeps the numbers crunching, who’s handy for some tips advice about their new tablet?  A burden on revenue in tough time, a necessary evil, who given the way technology is going, may not even be all that necessary for much longer?

After all, there’s always the danger that version b) from the intro may be the truer one. That virtualisation may virtualise you out of existence, along with those old x86 servers. That you may disappear into the clouds, never to appear again.

Don’t let it happen

You can’t sit back and let this happen. IT directors need to undergo something of a sea change if they’re to realise the opportunity that’s fallen into their laps.

You need to spell out the case for IT investment, in business terms. You should be calling the shots now. IT is indispensable, and getting more so, whether it’s in the cloud outside, the cloud inside or just the traditional data centre.

For example. Tell then the risk they run every day. Spell out what would happen if a critical e-commerce program goes down. No orders. No payments. No revenue. No business. Or if your e-mail gets a virus. No communication. And again, no business, at least until it’s sorted.

For example. You want to upgrade to Windows Server 2012. Tell them how it will facilitate integrating multiple servers to save time and enhance efficiency. Tell them how better disaster recovery will enhance business continuity. Tell them how empowering mobile system users will enhance flexibility and productivity.

Above all, don’t talk IT to them. Talk business to them. Business benefits. Your business benefits.

The golden lining in the cloud

There’s a brighter, better tomorrow waiting. The cloud has a golden lining. And innovation is the key to mining it. Both doing it, and being seen to be doing it. And being valued for it.

Your innovation can solve today’s and tomorrow’s strategic business problems. You can deploy the software that only you know about, that will help make it happen. The CIO role must change. It’s the shape of things to come. Yet it’s not inevitable for many. Many will fall by the way side. Make sure it’s not you. Learn new skills, cloud-related skills – that’s where the demand will be. In fact, demand for cloud specialists is up by a staggering 61%.

The cloud brings a one-off opportunity to gain the real seat at the top table that IT has coveted for so long. It also brings the threat to replace the physical CIO with virtual versions too. However, if you’re too slow on your feet for them, they can outflank you and go direct to the cloud themselves, or at least via a consultant.

Food for thought? There’s plenty more on all IT industry issues at King of Servers. Call 0845 611 8696 or email sales@kingofservers.com


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