A recurring theme of mine is that Cloud Computing constitutes an opportunity for small and medium businesses to “punch above their weight”. For a multitude of reasons that we’ve been articulating over the past six months or so with the CloudU series, Cloud Computing is a paradigm shift that gives SMBs the opportunity to obtain technology products or services that simply would have been outside of their scope only a few years ago – whether because of availability, capital cost or the hardware needed to make the stuff run – Cloud Computing makes the seemingly impossible (for an SMB anyway), possible.
If you accept that this is in fact the case (and I have four small businesses that I own that are living examples of the very fact that Cloud changes the world) then the next step is to work out how Cloud applies to your organization and the specific steps you’ll need to take to implement Cloud in a way that is in context for your industry, your business size and your peculiarities. The next few topics that we’ll be addressing in the CloudU syllabus then are these hands on issues. First up this month are some of the big questions – how we, as managers, will run our businesses and deal with the inevitable issues that a move to the Cloud can introduce.
Our latest paper (download here) looks at management strategies for this new paradigm in IT and covers some barriers and challenges to widespread Cloud adoption. In giving advice we draw on this historical parallel of the accounting profession – only a generation or so ago accounting was typified by vast rooms full of clerks scrawling away in ledger books. In the seeming blink of an eye, accountants use technology solutions (some on the Cloud, some not) to drive faster, more accurate and ultimately more valuable services to their clients.
So the management issues we look at in this paper can be separated into three distinct areas;
• Planning for Shifting IT Responsibilities – the need to engage early and deeply with the HR department to identify the staffing and skills profiles needed for the new IT
• Developing New Skills – vendor relationships, new technologies and strategic business skills that will be key going forwards
• Recruitment, Training, Hiring and Retention of Cloud Professionals – the challenges posed by a lack of formal qualifications and a narrow talent pool