The Cloud - The Most Important Question
I was running a workshop with a client recently, kicking off a project to develop a web portal. We were discussing the option to deploy this portal in the cloud. The CIO mentioned that a board member had asked him recently if the company was making use of the cloud.
I was immediately intrigued about the thinking behind this question. What benefits of the cloud were on this person’s mind? Was it the need for increased agility, scalability, resilience, reliability, performance, and security? Was it a desire for reduced administration, support and cost?
At first, I was disappointed to hear that there was no real reason, just that this person had a sense that they should be moving to the cloud.
But as I thought about it more, I realised that this board member was doing exactly what he should be doing: He was challenging IT to think more about the cloud, while at the same time giving them the latitude to do so.
In my last blog post, I mentioned how IT departments rightly see it as their job to protect the company and its data from threats of all kinds, while also leveraging existing investments. This can tend to make them very conservative. That’s why it can fall to business users to remind IT that they should always be open to the idea of moving to the cloud.
In the case of this portal, for example, the company already has portals which they are hosting themselves. Obviously, it is right to consider leveraging that infrastructure. But the current portal infrastructure is showing signs of age. By developing the new portal in the Cloud, they get a chance to adopt a new architecture, to set a new direction, and to make a fresh start.
And as hosting a web application in Microsoft Azure starts at €60 per month, cost is not an obstacle.
So, thanks to a little prodding from this board member, and a little more prodding from us, our client is going to deploy this new portal in the cloud. And they recognise that this is the start of a process: those other portals will be moved to the cloud over time.
My advice: take a leaf from this board member’s book. The next time you’re discussing a new solution with IT, or revisiting an existing solution, be sure to ask: “Shouldn’t we be doing that in the cloud?”