“IT vs Private Cloud” Paradox

Many years we speak of cloud computing, and I have been selling private cloud for a long time. But we’re still in very early stages of private cloud adoption. Why?

Answer was a surprise even for me. Private cloud is not something IT department need.

Every commercial company is a manufacturer. Yes, I’m not mistaken. Even small nail salon is a manufacturer. They produce profit. Just for argument simplicity let’s talk about profit as income minus costs (capital expenses and operational expenses including salaries). As we know dollar saved is dollar earned and therefore we’re driving costs down.
But where does cloud part come in you ask? Just wait for it.

Let’s take a look at allegedly most interested in cloud employees – IT department. Department includes IT management and administrators / specialists, IT assets in both hardware and software. And budget. As a rule, IT budget looks like some kind of financial black hole actively consuming sums with many zeroes. It’s almost impossible to understand financial flows and how it reflects on actual IT services. Here comes private cloud with financial visibility, service catalogs and measured service – so we can actually say how much one mailbox costs. We’re in CFO dream now.

But IT department says: NO!

Ok, let’s take another look on IT department, completely unrelated to technology – motivation.

What average IT admin wants? Pretty simple answer: high-tech toys, arcane techno mage status and significance. Who should choose new servers/storage system? Of course ME, it’s MINE! No, it’s not. It’s a tool, not a toy, and cloud brings us standards for systems. More than that, cloud makes admin interchangeable, the role does not bear any arcane knowledge anymore. Cloud admin is highly qualified in several areas – yes, but I don’t really see a lot of admins after 30 who really want to study something new and adapt. People want stability and “expert” title. What they do not want is to remain students till grandchildren.

What does IT management want if we skip part with kickbacks and gray schemes on procurement? Pretty the same – influence and significance. Which directly translates to number of employees and total systems cost. Plus a budget to control themselves, with no one looking over the shoulder. Each new new employee reporting bring costs, and each new admin add NO to the cloud question.

What cloud makes with IT budget? Black hole splits into separate services with measured costs, and CFO can now compare internal services with available on the open market. Which can be not in internal services favor. Cloud brings financial visibility to financial management and line business managers as well as how to spend budget in accordance with company targets.

– What, board will be able to see how I spend my budget?! – direct quote from one CIO I met.

It’s not a paradox, we now understand why IT don’t like cloud. But what should we do? I don’t have that answer.

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