I was asked recently where I get ideas for my blog. A number come from things I encounter during the course of the day, but many times my topics occur to me when I go for a run. Which is usually outdoors, even in the Seattle drizzle. But on days when the drizzle turns more substantial, I hop on the treadmill.
It was on just such a day recently that this topic occurred to me. I noticed I had burned a decent number of calories, however I hadn’t really gone anywhere. This called to mind the old analogy of “running on the hamster wheel”—invoking an image of one who is working hard but getting nowhere. However, I take some exception to that analogy. Running on a treadmill can get you places—to better health and endurance for example.
As often happens, this train of thought led me back to thinking of technology. Specifically, how many IT managers I’ve spoken to have complained about being on a treadmill themselves. Constantly updating software, upgrading hardware and keeping up with the latest networking protocols. They know that doing these things are not only core to their jobs but are also vitally important to their companies. But just like when I run, they’d prefer a sense of forward motion—movement by choice instead of by necessity.
Contrary to what you might think, these IT managers I speak to aren’t concerned that the move to cloud computing is going to put them out of work. Managing information, especially for a construction company, should mean much more than routine upgrades and updates. Most IT managers I know are anxious to make a difference in the way their companies perform, and the move to cloud computing offers them a unique opportunity for them to refocus their efforts.
When a company adopts cloud computing as their resource for serving up computing and software resources, much of the vital but routine tasks of the IT manager are moved to a third party. Shedding routine tasks allows them to spend less time reacting to problems and more time working on actively improving the flow of information in their company.
This is more than just a nice thought—I’ve seen it happen with one of our more progressive customers. People from across this company from accounting to project management will present a business need to the IT department. IT will then work with them to design a process and design a flow of information that supports the flow of work. This IT department has, for the most part, hopped off the treadmill, but they are still running and they are contributing in a more significant way to the way their company runs.
What is the role of IT in your company? Has a move to cloud computing affected this role?