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IT professionals are at a crossroads. One option is to cling to running backups and setting up users and planning upgrades until the company phases out your job.
It seems like everybody is talking about cloud computing and the advantages to businesses and consumers of running applications and storing data in the cloud.
We’re being urged to store everything from our music to our sensitive medical records to our company’s most valuable trade secrets in the cloud. It’s safe, secure and it all happens by magic. No backups. No upgrades. No security issues.
Except – wait a minute. All that stuff is your job, isn’t it?
Over the last several years as companies downsized in a declining economy, the IT team, like all the other teams, shrank. You were asked to accomplish the same tasks with fewer people and less money.
Who can blame you if you start to think of cloud computing as another attempt to downsize IT? Most vendors that try to sell you on cloud computing talk about how it will free up IT to “work on strategic initiatives.” Vendors say that primarily so the IT team doesn’t block them from getting to the guy that signs the check.
But what if you could make what they say come true?
IT professionals are at a crossroads. Professionals in the field have a choice. One option is to cling to running backups and setting up users and planning upgrades until the company phases out your job. The other is to find those potential strategic initiatives and do whatever you can to make them succeed.
Do you know what the company’s market strategy is and how it plans to measure success? If you don’t know, make it your business to find out. You don’t have to try to wrangle an invitation to a board of director’s meeting.
You can read annual reports. You can talk to your manager or people from other departments. You can easily ferret out the info. After all, if your competitors can do it you can too. As an example, if the company plans to innovate its way to market leadership (think Apple), how can you help?Don’t wait to be asked. Figure it out.
Maybe you can help by identifying better project management or collaboration tools to support product design. Ask yourself what other new tools will the company need to make this plan a reality. Maybe BPM (business process management) tools will help eliminate or shorten development time frames. Go through a similar thinking process for whatever the company’s strategy is, whether it’s low costs, fast delivery, global availability or even prettiest colors.
Don’t just identify a generic category or even a specific tool, and don’t just consider underlying technology. Find out precisely how this category supports the company’s strategy. Figure out how this specific solution will improve performance against identified success measures and KPIs. Show how it will increase sales, reduce costs or shorten product design cycles.Put together a five-year plan. Don’t wait for the department heads to ask for it. Go out and find it then sell your idea. That’s being strategic.Or you can keep on making backups more efficient until your job evaporates into the cloud.