The cloud and the role of IT


As cloud proliferation continues throughout the business world, many experts have questioned what the role of a company’s own IT staff will be. According to GigaOM writer James Urquhart, IT teams have traditionally been responsible for managing the complex hardware and software ecosystem within their company. The cloud changed that by allowing non-technical staff to easily provision the infrastructure resources necessary for their jobs. As Urquhart noted, some experts have said this diminishes the role of IT staff in the business world. However, he contends that it has created new opportunities and merely shifted IT’s focus.

Just as business executives have had to rethink strategies to incorporate the cloud’s major advantage of flexibility, technology professionals will have to focus their skills on other areas to add value to the business. Urquhart believes the new role of IT will be to optimize their company’s use of software.

“I think the answer comes in recognizing what ‘application-centricity’ really means in a complex business,” Urquhart wrote. “No business runs on one application. No business has only one deployment that they manage, only one executable that must meet the breadth of its computing demand. Every company runs on a system of applications: a collection of highly interconnected, interdependent software components, services and data that must all work as required in order for the company as a whole to survive and thrive.”

As Urquhart noted, IT professionals will likely be tasked with determining the types of software and features the business needs to improve its operations. One of the areas cloud has been able to improve significantly is mobile. Writing for TechTarget, marketing researcher and analyst Bill Claybrook highlighted critical business concerns for developing a custom application. Particularly when cross-platform functionality is critical, Claybrook said cloud-based mobile applications provide a significant advantage over native apps.


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