The human side of the cloud
Cloud computing is more than just a technology; it's a model for disruptive business transformation. And like any business transformation endeavor, it has to be supported by some fundamental realignment in organization structures, processes and even culture.
Take for instance the rather radical concept of distributed IT decision making in the cloud model. No more waiting for the IT department to provision technology; end users will independently assess and access the required infrastructure components based on demand.
IT, then, is no longer a detached purveyor of computing resources. From a pure maintenance and support function, it has to evolve into a more strategic role that involves working with different organizational units to understand their business needs and guide them to the appropriate technological solutions. In this new participative role, IT will be responsible for providing strategic technical guidance, defining standards and enabling innovation.
From a structural point of view, this means creating robust communication channels between business and IT. And the re-designation of IT personnel as cross functional strategists will have to be supported by extensive training programs to upgrade skills to levels that are commensurate with the new expectations.
As banks transition to hybrid cloud models, in-house IT resources will need to acquire the skills required to ensure that the disparate technological environments conform to all requirements of migration, integration and innovation. They will have to work with multiple service providers to achieve optimal integration of applications and data not only between different cloud providers but also across the entire IT infrastructure.
Banks can also leverage the power of cloud-based internal social networks to break down traditional departmental silos and build a culture of communication and collaboration. Integrating business partners, like Direct Selling Agents or banking correspondents, into the network will also allow for real-time access and collaboration to boost productivity. Using the native mobile capabilities of the cloud, banks can also empower employees with secure anytime/anywhere access to enterprise data and applications to enable quicker decision making.
In its simplest form, cloud computing may well be just a brand new delivery model for computing resources. But in today's IT-centric enterprise, where technology has significant structural and cultural implications, it is imperative to rethink the entire organization around the cloud. The cloud is not just a fresh infusion of technology; it is a whole new way of doing business.