Enterprise ICT Strategy Meets Cloud Services

A lot of executives look down on technology evangelists and consider them as mere “drive-by shooters” or basically people who cruise by their offices while firing one-shot “silver bullet” solutions. There is a possibility that cloud evangelists are lumped in the same category, if they are promoting cloud computing as a tech enhancement instead of a business strategy.

Many ICT executives handle technology evangelists by simply not entertaining them. Cloud services evangelists, on the other hand, are much harder to avoid because they employ more pervasive organizational disruptors, such as preassembled bundles of technology, processes, and people instead of tech-based point solutions.

The challenge for ICT departments is to fend off the army of cloud services evangelists that only sell piecemeal organizational disruption to executives, resulting in the ICT department losing their monopoly over the provision of ICT services.

Cloud Services as a Tech Enhancement Will Only Create Panic and Confusion

The pace of innovation in the ICT industry is relentless, with Enterprises barely having enough time to implement a generation of technology before they are made obsolete by something that’s faster and cheaper. It is common for executives to feel constantly on the back foot, as they try to implement outmoded innovations while blocking the distractions brought by current tech, all the while keeping an eye out on the possibilities of tomorrow.

Technology evangelists that only sell piecemeal point solutions tend to cause only panic and confusion as they “drive by” and bombard companies with promises of innovations, with many of them hyping cloud technologies as necessary enhancements without emphasizing the costs, risks, and difficulties inherent in their implementation. In this sense, they end up doing more harm than good for companies. This results in majority of ICT executives controlling the enterprise ICT strategy and procurement activity strictly as a means of defense, since accepting a sales meeting could only make the company vulnerable to disruptions from technology evangelists.

Cloud Services Evangelists are more Disruptive

Technology evangelists already spell trouble to most companies but cloud services evangelists are even worse, as they expand the target beyond the relatively well-defended offices of ICT departments. Cloud services itself is more potent, as it offers much more transformative potential than the cloud technologies they are based on. New strategies will be required to confront the incursion of cloud services into the enterprise.

The fact that a mature enterprise-grade cloud service offers a general organizational solution rather than a simple technology enhancement makes them a fundamental challenge to the ICT department’s role as provider of application services and infrastructure.

There is also a challenge posed to the legitimacy of internal under invested, underskilled, and sub scale ICT shared services arrangements, in direct contrast to many internally shared services. The leading cloud services by design are shared services that really work and empower their customers, thus giving them the freedom of choice while still able to deliver economies of scale and scope.

This means ICT executives are usually misconstruing the cloud itself as a mere tech enhancement that will only muddle up their strategy, instead of seeing its potential as a transformative technology that can serve as a great business strategy.

Cloud Services as a Business Strategy

Cloud services can be sourced quickly, easily, and for very little organizational cost. Add the fact that they can be sourced piecemeal means that business executives tend to buy them independently regardless of their ICT department’s grand plan.  The widening gap between innovation cycle-time of the ICT department and of cloud service vendors, as well as the budgetary constraints in enterprises can only exacerbate the situation.

The adoption of cloud services can encourage the type of decentralized decision-making environment that is suited to cloud evangelists. The best approach, therefore, is to maintain a flexible enterprise ICT strategic thinking that can address the big picture trends in the industry, as well as be prepared to get a new grip on the logic of ICT management. It is important to recognize that cloud services require a strategic, outward-looking response instead of a strict defensive response that only serves to protect the enterprise ICT perimeter.

A Looming Challenge to Enterprise ICT Leadership

Cloud services present a very real threat as well as opportunity for enterprise ICT strategy. As cloud services mature and become more widely adopted, ICT executives must devise a strategy that will allow them to include the technology into their enterprise ICT portfolio. Basically, now that cloud services evangelists are approaching key people in the enterprise, the ICT department’s monopoly over the provision of ICT services as well as their ICT leadership will be challenged.

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