Moving to the Cloud: The advantages we aren’t talking about
Industry stalwart, Peter Grant, shares with our Senior Director of Advisory Services Anthony Saba how to explore IT frameworks for 2020, skills to look out for in IT roles, and moving from BAU to innovative IT programs.
My first question to you has to be around a topic that is continuously the number one priority for our delegation, and that is the topic of cloud. We are often focusing on the wrong things when trying to move towards a cloud first system internally. What should we be focusing on as organizations?
Cloud hit the market a few years ago and the whole driver was actually around ‘this is going to save you money, this is going to be easier to do’. Well, time has kind of proven that that’s not the case. But cloud is super valuable, and I still find that organizations are tending to target the wrong goals when they’re moving to the cloud. One of the sales pitches now for cloud is that it’s fully scalable, pay for what you get, that’s all very nice but that’s missing the whole point of us moving there. There’s around 20 other major benefits that are available by moving to the cloud and most organizations are just simply not targeting them.
And can you give me an example of one of these other, I suppose, focus areas that people should be talking about when they speak about cloud?
The one I used in the talk is connectivity. So, one of the things that cloud allows us to do is operate on a planetary scale as opposed to in the old days we’d operate on a client server scale, or if something was on paper, we’d operate on a one to one scale. So, when we moved to the planetary scale you get situations like Xero, the accounting firm from Wellington, New Zealand.
In 2011, Xero is an organization that is just an accounting firm sitting in New Zealand. You know, the best accounting firm that you could possibly have in Wellington is making a few million dollars a year maybe. Xero moving to software as a service means that they operate on a planetary scale now. They do my books for me, and I live here in Australia on the sunshine coast. Never met them, but they operate with me. I had a look last week, their market capitalization is 6.1 billion dollars US, so moving to the cloud, moving to connectivity, taking advantage of it, you move from a small business in Wellington to 6 billion dollars US. There are another 15 to 20 opportunities like this in the cloud that still we have people saying oh gee we can move to the cloud and maybe we’ll save a few cents here or there.
Like you said we’re starting to see the pullback from that, the kind of people drawing back from cloud first because the cost benefits aren’t always there, and if that’s the only pitch, then when it doesn’t show the results, people tend to get a bit nervous.
Well one of the bad things about that is that they’re actually pulling back from the cloud at all. And they’ll, as a result of not finding the benefits that they were seeking, or they were promised, they’re tending to go back and do things in house and they’re still ignoring the other 15 to 20 significant benefits that are available from that type of architecture.
What do our IT teams need to be doing? Their roles must change, as we move to software as a service providers who take away a lot of these internal functions – what does the IT team of the future look like, and what are their responsibilities?
That’s a great question. First of all, the IT team of today is very sceptical about the cloud in many, many organizations. And this is preventing them from growing. People saying we’re moving to the cloud, we’re going to save money, a lot of people who work in those organizations in IT translate that into we’re moving to the cloud, we’re gonna get rid of your job. And we don’t want people to think like that.
We actually want people to understand that this is a fantastic opportunity, this is about bringing new innovation to the way organizations can operate, look at Xero as the model. So the first thing we have to get straight here is we have to understand the benefits that cloud can offer, and then we have to show those benefits to our IT staff so that they get on board with the right positive attitude and enthusiasm to actually undertake this journey. We just have done that completely backwards at the moment in most organizations.