Archive » Issue No. 3 September 2015 » Expert column: Anton Zhbankov '`IT vs Private Cloud` Paradox'

Expert column: Anton Zhbankov '`IT vs Private Cloud` Paradox'

For many years we have been speaking of cloud computing. I have been selling the private cloud for a long time now. However we are still in the very early stages of the private cloud. Why is this?

The answer was a surprise even for me. The private cloud is not something that IT Departments need.

Every commercial company is a manufacturer. Yes, this is true: even a small nail salon is a manufacturer. They produce profit. Just for argument's sake lets talk about profit as 'income minus costs' (capital expenses and operational expenses including salaries). As we know: a dollar saved is a dollar earned.' Therefore we are driving costs down.
But where does the cloud's part come in you ask? Just wait for it.

Lets take a look at the employees who are the most interested in the cloud, i.e. the IT Department. The IT Department includes IT management and administrators/specialists and IT assets (hardware and software). And the IT budget! As a rule, the IT budget looks like some kind of financial black hole actively consuming sums of money with many zeroes. Its almost impossible to understand financial flows and how it reflects on the actual IT services. Here comes the private cloud with its financial transparency, service catalogs and measured service so now we can actually say how much one mailbox costs. Were in a CEO's dream now.

Despite these obvious advantages, the IT Department says 'NO! We do not need the private cloud!' 
"How could this possibly be?" you ask!

Ok, lets take another look at our IT Department. Let's look at something completely unrelated to technology i.e. motivation.

What does the average IT administrator want? Well, there is a pretty simple answer to this question: high-tech toys, an arcane techno image status and some level of significance. Who should choose new servers/storage systems? "Me, of course!", they say. "Its mine!". I say No! Its not a toy, the cloud is a tool and it brings us systems standards. In addition, the cloud makes administration interchangeable. Now the role does not bear any arcane knowledge anymore. Cloud administration is highly qualified in several areas but I dont really see a lot of administrators over 30 who really want to study something new and adapt. People want stability and 'expert' status. What they do not want is to remain students until they become grandparents.

What does IT management want? Ignoring the disadvantages, they want pretty much the same influence and significance. This directly translates to the number of employees and the total system cost. Plus a budget under their control. With no one checking over them! Each new employee brings extra costs and each new administrator adds a big 'NO' to the cloud.

What would the cloud do with the IT budget? Our 'black hole' splits into separate services with measured costs and the CEO can now compare internal services with those available on the open market. Naturally, this will not always be in the internal services' favor. The cloud brings financial transparency to financial management and to line business managers. In addition, it teaches us how to spend budgets in accordance with company targets.

'What do you mean? The Board will be able to see how I spend my budget?!' asked one CEO I met recently.

Its not a paradox because now we understand why IT dont like the cloud. But what should we do? I am sorry to say, I do not have that answer!

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