Windward Insights

Avoid the Traffic Jam: Embracing Cloud with Organizational Change

Published Jan. 12, 2012
Written by Michele Darwin

Traffic Jam

Cloud computing was everywhere in 2011 as companies continued to seek ways to reduce IT costs while improving productivity. For many, it was seen as the hottest trend of last year, and has been embraced by companies of all shapes and sizes, including the federal government. But embracing or accepting cloud computing will not be without challenges and one of the biggest challenges I expect to encounter revolves around organizational change. Let’s face it—change challenges the best of us. Adding to this challenge is the fact that organizations are expected to manage new technology with processes and systems that already exist.

I just spent the holiday vacation with kids home from college and with them came their cars. What’s the challenge with that, you ask? I’ll give you one: parking. This one little change to our daily routine had us spending a lot of time moving cars around to get out the one we wanted to drive, searching for keys to move a car we did not need at the time. Adding to the challenge was the fact that the driveways in our neighborhood are in the back of the house; the neighbors’ cars made the simple task of getting out of the driveway feel a bit like a traffic jam.

We were forced to look at the needs of everyone and develop a plan to make the entire process more efficient with the current infrastructure (the driveway/garage space) we had available. What does my parking dilemma have to do with forward thinking IT leaders? It means that IT leaders will need to align behaviors, culture, organization and technology in order to meet business missions and goals, much like I had to align my kids’ parking needs with my own existing parking structure. Better decision-making across the business will drive better choices and produce better outcomes. If you’re interested in optimizing costs for delivering and supporting IT, then all aspects of the business need to be evaluated for cost-saving opportunities, from consolidating infrastructure to streamlining processes, to automating key functions and managing vendors.

Smart companies aren’t going to wait to embrace the concept of service-centric IT. Instead, they are going to push forward to align technology with their businesses using a strategy that clearly defines business needs and aligns processes, organizations, and technology. The end result will be measurable improvements across the enterprise.