Cloud Migrations Trigger Organizational Challenges - InformationWeek

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2/9/2010
04:00 PM
Vanessa Alvarez
Vanessa Alvarez
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Cloud Migrations Trigger Organizational Challenges

When organizations migrate to cloud computing, most of the focus is on technology components such as security, automation, and policy management. There is, however, another key element that's necessary for a cloud model to work within enterprises, and it involves organizational behavior.

When organizations migrate to cloud computing, most of the focus is on technology components such as security, automation, and policy management. There is, however, another key element that's necessary for a cloud model to work within enterprises, and it involves organizational behavior.Enterprises today are grappling not only with evolving operational models within their data centers, but also with challenges presented by internal organizations struggling to adapt to those technological changes. Often, the human element of cloud computing is left out of the broader discussion. Key to any cloud computing deployment is the understanding that it will spark changes not only an enterprise's data center, but also in the enterprise's organizational behavior. These changing behaviors will need to be addressed if enterprises are to successfully deploy cloud computing.

Roughly half of all enterprises are currently considering cloud computing as part of their long term strategy for data center operations. They should also be considering the changing landscape of organizational relationships that will result from a cloud deployment. The relationships among IT, finance, accounting, and other business units will become much more fluid, stemming from the on-demand and flexible nature of the new IT environment. Business processes will be altered as well. Procurement, for example, traditionally tied to IT budgets allocated on an annual basis, must now flex in response to on-demand IT services. The new ease with which business unit leaders can order IT resources is a benefit to the enterprise, but will necessitate changes to how IT and finance communicate. A challenge which has long existed in enterprises is the isolation of business units from one another. This effect will be magnified under a cloud computing model. It will be seen not only on the business side of an organization, but also on the IT side, where historically, network operations and security have been in silos. Communication among the units, historically poor, will deteriorate further unless corrective action is taken. The IT side is already experiencing some changes, in regard to the role of systems administrators and network managers. As IT undergoes a transformation, so will these roles.

For enterprises looking to deploy a long term virtualization and cloud strategy, it will be necessary to have the organization as a whole take part in the transformation. It would be best to start with a representative of each department (IT, finance, etc) serving as liaisons to facilitate communications and consistency among different business units.

Cloud computing not only changes the IT environment, but also the business environment and CEOs will need to deliver the message across their organizations. How effectively this is done is a critical component of making cloud computing a success. Vanessa Alvarez is an industry analyst for Information, Communications & Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

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