Traditionally, the role of IT was simple. Technology Euro’s were centralized under the CIO to manage. The CIO became the traffic cop, deciding whose projects would be deployed and what technology could best be integrated efficiently within the existing infrastructure.
How the transformation to the Cloud is shifting Roles
But as cloud computing continues to evolve, the role of IT is shifting. Today, we’re witnessing the rise of the IT broker, a person who is constantly balancing workloads between internal solutions and external providers. More time is devoted to negotiating better deals, finding better solutions and essentially serving as a liaison between his or her company and cloud vendors. IT’s role as a middle man is far more important.
Recent research indicated that roughly one out of every four companies expected to have an IT broker role by the end of 2014. Further, with cloud computing on the rise with no end in sight — a global market that brought in $131 billion in 2013 is expected to grow to $180 billion by the end of 2015—companies are becoming increasingly focused on developing such roles.
The Rise of the IT Broker
Now, thanks to the rise of cloud computing and the freedom from vendor lock-in that comes with it, businesses don’t have to worry about spending precious capital dollars on equipment that may very well become outdated quickly as technology progresses. Rather, they can choose to get their computing resources from the cloud, paying for only the resources they need on a contractual basis, which might even be as temporary as month-to-month.
As the demand for cloud services escalates and more vendors appear on the scene research indicates that 75 percent of companies are leveraging at least one cloud-based platform the price for the services continues to fall to the earth. Coupled with the fact that companies aren’t bound to vendors, businesses are able to find more attractively priced alternatives on a fairly regular basis. Additionally, as technology progresses, IT brokers might look for solutions that offer more features and functionality.
In its role as a broker, the IT staffer must now become a central command center of sorts, consistently monitoring IT usage both in-house and from outside providers in order to understand the needs of the enterprise and determine what solutions are available to meet those demands most effectively.
Keeping Your Fingers on the Pulse of Your IT Usage
As a broker, IT will want to place a keen eye on cloud financial offerings. Part of a company’s needs may be satisfied with on-premises equipment, some may be met with a private cloud and others may be addressed by a public cloud provider. Additionally, IT brokers have to choose which type of deployment model best suits their company, the specific apps needed and whether the need for those apps is short term or long term. Once businesses determine the right combination of cloud computing services, IT brokers can sift through the wealth of information at their fingertips to make appropriate decisions.
As a broker, IT must be able to synthesize demand on both internal and provider equipment, marrying costs from all sources. Specialized cloud financial management solutions provide brokers with the insight to understand the precise needs of a business based on resource usage while doing comparisons based on what they currently pay versus what they would pay by partnering with Cloud Provider A, B or C, for example.
What’s more, cloud financial management tools aggregate the IT usage across an enterprise, meaning actionable data is recorded for IT brokers to leverage — no matter what a department is doing or what platform they are using. A business might have its payroll processed by one vendor, emails hosted by another, data stored by a public cloud provider, and critical applications maintained in-house. In other words, when it comes to technological infrastructure, there’s a lot more of a mix. To understand which solutions really work best for any company, the role of IT needs to shift to understand business needs.
Today’s IT departments are charged with the difficult task of managing evolving technologies activities and knowledge. To do this effectively, they need to develop and cultivate new relationships that help grant their companies access to the most competitive cloud computing solutions without compromising on functionality. The rate of change in the cloud is so rapid that IT has to shift into a consulting role that is always brokering and matching the demands of the enterprise. And to do that most effectively, brokers should consider making use of robust cloud financial management solutions.
Source: Cloud cruiser