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August 28, 2009

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Robert Wipfel

Summary: Business must adopt ITIL prescribed Service Management best practices, to achieve the agility necessary to out/in/cloud source all their workloads; while retaining enterprise level Governance, Risk and Compliance:
http://www.novell.com/media/media.php?media=building-a-service-driven-data-center-part-one

Steve Hand

There is no doubt that the Wal-Martification of IT is squarely in the the sights of the big services shops. For example, HP is building a data center in Colorado Springs for the expressed purpose of offering cloud services to customers operated by a dozen of less system administrator.

IT is one of the most tumultuous parts of any business. There is constant need of technology refit both of assets but of employees as well without clear benefit to the business. The cloud computing promise appeal to decision makers by moving the responsibility of ROI from internal teams to external ones. This changes the roles of the internal IT leaders from delivers of value to watch dogs. In this way, this promise mirrors that of the outsourcing of project work from internal government teams to contractors and of internal IT labor to over seas labor.

Having seen this process from the inside, I can tell you that the technology is not the biggest cost. The biggest cost can often be the inability of internal customers to organize their thoughts and goals to effectively apply the solution to computers. As well publicized but often forgotten, current computing technology can not deal well with fuzzy goals and parameters. This is often not the fault of the technology but of the people designing the solution. But those that can effectively define their problems and solutions can bring new value to their employers, like the development of cloud computing technologies (i.e. Amazon).

The Wal-Martification of IT, through cloud computing, will also mean that applications run on the cloud will be offered as a solution as well as the cloud infrastructure itself. Given the undefined nature of what a cloud is, it is likely that once the definitions are solidified, only the cloud provider will have any real depth in implementation any one of those definitions. As such, this process is very much like that of the adoption of CRM and ERP solutions from major vendors and the retirement of internally developed solutions of the same type.

Given this, cloud computing may mean not only the elimination of IT folks from companies, but also the elimination of the ability of the adopting companies to solve their unique problems with computers.

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