Driving Communism Out of IT with Cloud Computing - Page 3
But all of this changes when we walk in the corporate office and ask for new software or hardware. Suddenly, we’re subjects of a communist state. We have to request what we need from a central source and then we enter the queue to find out if we can get it. If we’re allowed, we choose from a limited number of options and then we wait. Whereas in the past, employees were willing to do this, today they’re not so accepting. Employees are pushing back, they want the experience they have in their personal lives to be mirrored in the office. They want to bring their iPads or personal laptops to work and access all their corporate data. They want to have the technology resources that are best suited to their needs, and they don’t want to wait for IT to provide them. They question why it’s so easy to get what they want outside the company while it’s so difficult internally. Why should they wait a week to get a new virtual machine when the technology exists to enable it immediately? Why should employees suffer just because their companies are bogged down by siloed, un-integrated technologies and processes? And, more and more, employees are threatening to go to public cloud vendors to get the IT resources they need. For the first time, corporate IT teams have competition from the Amazons of the world and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Transforming IT through the Cloud’s Market Economy
Just as Eastern Bloc countries adopted more of a capitalist economy, IT has to reform and embrace individualism. It has to put aside its communist practices and adopt a market economy. This is a fundamental change in the way enterprise IT operates, but it is possible—and made much easier and less painful—with cloud computing. The cloud is all about moving from a one-size-fits-all system to a free-market economy that is driven by real-time business user needs. It’s about giving users the ability to get what they need—whether that’s a virtual machine or a new software program—charging them more if they want it right away, and making them accountable through chargeback mechanisms.
One of the key underpinnings of modern market-driven economies is the ability to provide goods/services at mass scale, low cost, and near real-time—all of which translates to self-service. Self-service capabilities are required in order for a cloud computing system to work. Business users must be empowered to obtain the goods/services they want and, more importantly, have them be individualized to their needs. They must to be able to self-service—within corporate policy guidelines—without waiting for IT to intervene. In this way, they can get resources that will actually help them do their jobs and—in the case of virtualized resources—they’ll obtain them in minutes instead of weeks or months.
As free market economies operate on a foundation of liquidity, IT must give consumers the freedom to choose among multiple suppliers who compete on price and quality. This could even include external resources like Amazon EC2, so users have the option of bursting from the private cloud to the public cloud when that’s the most expedient or cost-effective way to get their resources. All of this requires much higher levels of IT automation, flexibility and integration that have previously been available. Therefore, a true cloud system must provide a layer of abstraction that makes it easy to manage the complexity of a heterogeneous infrastructure. It must also allow automated administration of resources according to clearly defined, consumer-centric policies instead of one-size-fits-all mandates.