Cloud Adoption: 4 Human Costs
Moving to the cloud imposes changes on your IT workforce. Think in terms of changed expectations, education, migration and maintenance.
To that end, the adoption of cloud computing brings with it a series of changes that directly impact the IT workforce. Failing to account for those changes can reduce the value of the cloud and increase IT costs and dysfunction. There are at least four major areas of human cost to assess when planning a cloud strategy and selecting a cloud provider.
No. 1: Cost Of Changed ExpectationsEmployees aren't rubes when it comes to the cloud. Sure, most people can't differentiate software-as-a-service from platform-as-a-service, but the recent consumerization-of-IT phenomenon has reset expectations. Most people regularly use cloud-based email clients, collaboration tools and even business apps. They've come to expect a new class of services for their digital consumption, and those expectations will be present for any cloud initiative your company starts.
Developers will expect more sophisticated deployments, project teams will expect easier acquisition of environments, and end users will expect their systems to go live faster.
As a result of these expectations, organizations face human costs in a range of areas. What must change? IT organizations must streamline server requisition and approval processes. They must update service catalogs. They may have to update configuration management systems, as well as retool finance systems and processes to move toward IT-as-a-service.
IT operations will see a (major) uptick in requests for temporary environments. One of the transformational aspects of cloud computing is the ease by which you can stand up servers. So once it becomes "easy" to get cloud servers, expect skyrocketing demand for environments to test new software releases, perform proof-of-concepts, execute performance testing or host training instances. Without proper planning, these demands can overwhelm IT organizations already stretched thin.
Fear not. There are ways to prepare for these new expectations. Start small by offering a few new services in the catalog, and constantly iterate over the new processes until you find the right balance between compliance with organizational standards and the necessity to think of service delivery in a new way. Embrace the concept of chargebacks for cloud services. Empower departments to provision (and pay for!) resources as they see fit.
The IT operations team will still have to play a role in maintaining these systems (see point No. 4 below), but you can ease the burden by encouraging a decentralized self-service culture. Cloud computing may be met with great excitement within your organization, but without setting expectations properly, you may struggle to deliver services in the way users hope for.
How can cloud providers help? Consider asking them for case studies on how other customers have dealt with the change management aspect of cloud programs. Make sure that your provider has the ability to deliver per-department invoices and billing so that you don't incur extra overhead parsing a single invoice and trying to dole out expenses.
NEXT: No. 2: Cost Of Educating Staff
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