Points to Consider Before Heading to the Cloud
Friday, February 03, 2017
“Go West, young man,” was a phrase popularised in the nineteenth century by American journalist Horace Greeley as the country expanded westward. If Greeley were writing today, he’d probably be saying, “Go to the cloud, young man.”
Few organisations, these days, have failed to heed that advice. Most have offloaded a wide range of functions to the cloud. For those considering a move of core functions to the cloud, or those about to invest more heavily in the cloud, here are some of the key points to consider, according to the Uptime Institute:
Many companies have an application or set of apps that they use for competitive advantage or that they feel set them apart. These firms can rely on in-house expertise to manage these apps, and continue their development. Such companies tend to look to the cloud as a place to offload back office functions such as email and payroll. That frees up IT to drive real competitive differentiation by prioritising its efforts on its core applications.
But that situation is in the minority. In the current era of curtailed budgets and streamlined staffing, many IT departments are in the opposite situation. They can adequately look after basic functions, but lack the skill to develop custom apps that will set them apart. For these shops, prioritisation means listing out the one or two strategic apps that require external development help.
IT departments vary significantly when it comes to what they are good at and what they are not. Primarily dictated by past experience, training and staffing attrition, IT finds itself with a certain set of internal competencies. But on the other side of the coin, plenty of gaps tend to develop over time. That’s why it’s vital to conduct an honest assessment of in-house talent and technology skillset gaps. Some teams are good at keeping back office functions running, and maintaining what is there. Others struggle there but are good at updating core applications.
Every application is different. Some are basic and their development may lie comfortably within the capabilities of internal resources. At other times, a highly skilled internal development team may lack the time or specific skillsets to engineer a custom application that is a strategic priority. Additionally, the in-house team may be excellent on a particular platform, yet lack the know-how to create customised cloud applications.
The bottom line is that it is no criticism to look externally. When key applications fall beyond internal capabilities, when their time is taken up in other urgent projects or where their specific talents don’t quite match with project requirements, it’s time to demand help.
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By Drew Robb, Contributor
Drew Robb is a freelance editor and writer, specialising in the Information Technology sector.