Last week I did a live webinar on Computing.co.uk website that caused quite a stir. Making not one, but two slightly sensationalist headlines for followup articles on their site – an interpretation of my views on IT skills repositioning and a summary of my views on a “cloud first” policy. You might need to signup for free to view/read, but its a good “IT news” content site anyway in my view. This webinar incidentally also led to a third article this week posted by v3.co.uk (related to the first one) about how IT staff should help their firms wrt tech elements of GDPR.
But was I being sensationalist? I think not. Even “Blind Freddy” can see by now that IT can no longer “earn its crust” by hiding away in the back room focussing on making servers not fall over!? If that’s your job today then you have two choices; 1. get REALLY good at it and as many other techie things as you can, and then go and work for a Service Provider (who by the way, will only be hiring the Top Gun’s because they will soon be spoiled for choice) OR 2. start learning more about how YOU can help YOUR employer get MORE from IT in its every form. Here’s a starter for 10 list: Data Analytics, SaaS integration, Cloud, Security, Mobility, Unified Comms, Social Media, Software Defined Networks in an Multi-Cloud World, Vendor Management. Your senior management are probably currently completely bamboozled by all of this stuff – become their translator, their right hand (wo)man, the one person in the firm that can HELP them understand and exploit these new tech components to help them reach THEIR goals. They will value you, reward you, and headhunt you when they move on and up.
The second piece is again, to my way of thinking pretty obviously another representation of IT schoolboy error 101. I’ve said many times before that “solutioning” (or even “solutionising”) as we now call it, before you understand the goals in business terms is a mistake. We have spent 6 years developing the Clover index BECAUSE their was a gap in the market – a lack of readily accessible benchmarking of Cloud Vendors against BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS. Not because we fancied doing a little database project. Yes, we are predominantly “Cloud-First” ourselves, but that’s because we don’t have the critical mass or the pools of resource required to do things any other way, even if we wanted to. But, the UK Government, Bloomberg, Barclays Bank – they do. Sometimes the obvious logic in a statement presents at the extremes. Should IBM Global Services adopt a “Cloud-First” policy? Use Amazon WS for everything? Of course NOT! They have cost effective, well managed resources. They have legacy to content with. They understand that sometimes BUILDING and MANAGING (or even having a third party build and manage) an estate for you may well sometimes be a more cost effective, lower risk or more palatable solution to your clients for example – and maybe its just the best fit for now. Forcing your staff you argue this business case at every juncture by insisting on substantiating a rejection of “Cloud as the going in solution” is obviously flawed. Take the problem, do an options analysis, choose the “Best Execution Venue” to quote both MIFID II and 451 Research.
Of course, I get that being 100% deployed on Cloud in 10 years has some potential merit as a strategy, and the UK Government is actually NOT the most efficient beast in the land. But think about it – being 100% glued to Microsoft Azure – when they just put their prices in the EU up by a double digit % – has some serious potential downsides too.