Should IT view the cloud as a threat or an opportunity?

For cloud computing to be fully embraced, it will take a change in culture amongst IT managers.

Industry players agree the adoption of cloud computing is inevitable, but it will take a shift in culture for IT managers to embrace it fully.

As fears mount, questions are posed: What happens if they get rid of us all because we have no infrastructure to manage? What happens if something goes wrong?

Cloud providers say IT professionals need to start looking at the benefits that the cloud brings in freeing up more time to deal with the true value of the business -- applications.

There is still a long way to go before we see major adoption of the cloud, but that will come with the maturity of the technology.

Jamie Turner,
IT directorPostcode Anywhere

Currently IT managers react to problems within the company, but it comes to the point where they cannot be as reactive as the business demands -- advocates say that the cloud is there to support them.

Cloud experts have suggested IT managers refocus and re-define their roles -- show your value in tough times and demonstrate the additional benefits you can bring to the business other than just responding to employees' technical difficulties.

Jamie Turner, IT director at application provider Postcode Anywhere, said IT managers become suspicious about losing their infrastructure.

"It is an IT manager's job to make sure everything runs smoothly. If you are handing over business-critical information to someone else, it is obviously a worry for them," Turner said. "If you are receiving your information through a bad connection and something goes wrong it is tricky and costly to fix," he added.

Turner said the issue that IT managers will face with the cloud are similar to maintaining their IT infrastructure in-house, but the industry tends to focus more on the risks of investing in the cloud rather than the benefits.

"To a degree, worrying about the risks is sensible, but some risks are worth taking. The industry is forever changing, along with technology and the role of the IT manager," Turner said. "There is still a long way to go before we see major adoption of the cloud, but that will come with the maturity of the technology."

Turner said the role of the IT manager is more strategic now, rather than just taking care of passwords and logins. There is more scope for getting involved in how to introduce cost savings for the business and looking at what can be done to improve processes.

Craig Sullivan, vice president of international products at NetSuite, said change is everything. "If you are not doing it, your competitors are. If you do not keep up with changes in the industry, then it can have an impact on your business.

"The cloud is there to support businesses through this recession. Application vendors in the cloud are there to reduce overhead and free up the IT managers' time to drive the business forward and out of the recession."

Sullivan said that due to tough economic times, businesses have been forced to rethink their strategy and look at ways to do more with less.

Kayleigh Bateman is the site editor for SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.uk.

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