It seems that every company on earth is looking to move to cloud computing. Moving to the cloud is no longer just for a competitive edge, it is a matter of survival. For technology companies, they are facing real competition in their move towards turning their services into subscription-based and cloud-based services.
For these companies, what they need are new business practices that would allow them to listen to what their customers are saying and what their clients need. These business practices will also allow them to engage their customers so that they are able to come up with a value proposition. They need these insights to make sure that their business value is achieved via subscription services.
On the other hand, what do the clients of these technology companies need to do in order to survive in the cloud computing era? What can they expect from their technology service providers?
What should chief information officers expect in terms of new challenges and issues as the entire market moves towards cloud-based subscription services?
This question is easily answered. CIOs will have to realign their thinking. With the shift to subscription services, IT resources are no longer implemented, but turned on when needed. This means that CIOs will no longer have to contend with deploying and maintaining these resources. This is because cloud computing services are largely independent and you do not have to integrate it to your existing system. This also means that you do not have to spend too much time on support services.
This signifies the move from IT companies being “shadow IT” to being “shallow IT“.
Does shallow IT mean CIOs are no longer needed? Not exactly. It will, instead, make the lives of CIOs a whole lot easier. In the past, coming up with a solution is part of the job, and any bumps along the way with regards to IT solutions would mean that IT guys are going to get all the hate. So IT back then was stuck in making sure no issues become problems and no problem becomes too big to warrant bringing out the pitchforks.
Furthermore, IT will no longer have to wait for upfront capital to get a project started. And if something goes wrong, IT will not be blamed. All of that are solved with subscription-based services, leaving IT to focus on more pressing matters that add more value to the business.
Think about it. In the past, IT was reduced to technicians who would be fixing the solutions they created if something goes wrong. On top of troubleshooting, they are the ones tasked with updating and patching, as well as the overall maintenance of all IT resources. But now that a technology service provider handles all of these, they are free to – for instance – research ways on how to improve operations using IT.
And because technology service providers are competing for clients, the favor is on the buyer’s side. CIOs can impose stringent responsibilities and standards on technology providers. As such, CIOs can make sure that their service providers:
- Clearly illustrate the ROI by offering business specific services. This answers the question of what exactly does your business get if you subscribe to their solution.
- Clearly illustrate how key performance indicators (KPIs) are served by their solutions, with reports detailing baseline measurements and targets.
- Provide management, training, and education required to use their services.
- Give periodic reports on how business goals are met.
CIOs are now in a relatively better position to take advantage of the power shifts that we are seeing with technology providers who are offering cloud-based subscription services. This will allow them to get the most out of their investment, find a better technology partner, and become a strategic resource for their own organizations.
Photo courtesy of JD Hancock (Flickr).