The agents of change are sabre rattling but they can’t kill you off because you understand compliance, says Forrester
Cloud computing won’t unsettle the IT department, bypass the CIO, or undermine the role of any trusted IT advisor, says a Forrester Consulting report into the effects of the latest IT revolution. Desperate though the agents of change are for a revolution, they can’t kill off anyone who can run the administration, the report said.
The study, conducted by Forrester for Microsoft, examined the nature of tech savvy “change agents” who use the cloud to achieve business innovation and efficiency. It found that all kinds of people are now initiating IT projects in companies, with everyone from HR to Health & Safety wanting to get their hands on the means of production.
Agents of change
Unlike the PC revolution, cloud computing will not allow these revolutionaries to overthrow the resented power brokers of IT. The position of IT managers, CIOs and external IT resellers remains safe, according to a Microsoft spokesman.
“There are all kinds of agents of change, in all departments,” said Rob Fraser (pictured), Microsoft’s CTO of cloud services, “but it won’t be like the PC revolution. People want to align what they are doing with expert advisors. It won’t be a case of Wild West IT and there won’t be any shadow computing departments set up.”
Users these days are less gung-ho about going it alone, he said, because they realise there are considerable data integration and compliance issues. The study, based on in-depth interviews with 22 enterprise-scale organisations, also revealed that those who want to see cloud services “spun up quickly” feel they don’t need to go to IT.
If there was a division caused by cloud service users, it was that innovation was not led by IT departments that prefer to use private cloud resources to improve internal business processes, but by those pioneers which tend to favour public cloud resources.
Interviewee Bert Craven, EasyJet’s enterprise architect, made some ambitious claims for the power of cloud computing.
“EasyJet tends to attract change agents in all aspects of the business. Even our ground crew are using cloud computing to drive extra value,” said Craven. “We’re seeing more demand for services from within the business to support specific innovation and business improvement.”
Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom said elements of the study were quite feasible. “The basis of the research is something we have been banging on about for a long, long time. IT has to move away from being about technologists and become about business advisors,” Longbottom said.