I am going to be addressing a series of cloud topics in my next few posts (and yes, regular bloggers have a right to say that intermittent bloggers are not true bloggers, so guilty as charged)..
We just concluded the IBM Cloud Forum in San Franciso. In addition to a series of announcements by IBM (which I will go over in a separate post), I always find the client panels at such conferences the most interesting. Suffice to say, this one did not disappoint. The client panel was moderated by Lauren States (from IBM), and had panelists Scott Skellenger (from Illumina), Tony Kerrison (from ING) and Carlos Matos (from Kaiser Permanente).
Lots has been written about cloud technologies -- IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, Business Process outcomes -- and lots has been written about cloud deployment as public, private and hybrid. Sure there were some discussions about these in the panel. But Scott and others (and Scott later on in breakout session) brought home the following points that I found fascinating, all organization issues, not technology issues:
1. If the organization does not think cloud as a radically new way of doing things, and does not align itself to think that way, it would fail down the road -- it would try to do the old things the new way and will not succeed.
2. IT organizations have typically thought of capex's and opex's. But now it needs special skills in trading these off, it needs skills in vendor management that is different than procurement, it needs skills in budget cycles that allow for a "hump" (i.e an increase in investment) while cloud transition is going on.
3. According to Saugatuck, by 2014 (though I think that is too optimistic), 50% of the apps that IT run would be cloud-based. What Scott pointed out was that even if 50% remain non-cloud, the nature of those apps will change. Instead of those apps being focused solely on some application function, they would increasingly be focused on integration of the other apps (cloud or non-cloud). So no IT organization can think that "ok, at least 50% will remain the same". 50% will remain, but not remain the same.
We have always known that technology is easy, organizational issues are hard, but the client panel brought to me a focus on some specifics organizational issues that I had not thought of before. Good learning for me.
In subsequent posts, I will talk about some platform activity that I am helping bring out for IBM, and a "holistic" perspective on what IBM is addressing with its cloud offerings.