Forbes

9 Roles That Really Matter In Cloud Computing Today

By Joe McKendrick

December 5, 2016

While it seems cloud computing is everywhere and anywhere, the fact is it is still only the early stages of its advance into the cores of enterprises. That’s one of the key points I raised in my opening keynote at the Collaborate 2016 event in Las Vegas, hosted by the three primary independent Oracle user groups – Quest International Users Group, Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) and Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG). (OAUG is the user group for Oracle E-Business Suite users, Quest consists of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users, while IOUG members are Oracle Database managers.)

The keynote was based on the results of a survey conducted across the three user groups, which finds only one in five enterprises are looking at cloud — even to a limited extent — for their core enterprise application suites, and only 15% see cloud as an option for their enterprise databases.

This scenario may change dramatically, and soon. A recent survey of 1,200 IT decision makers by Intel Security find a vast majority of organizations’ IT budgets being spent on cloud services in less than a year and a half. Survey respondents said they expect 80% of their organization’s IT budget to be dedicated to cloud computing services in that time.

The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Norton recently observed that “corporate spending on the cloud, whose rate of growth fell in 2015, is expected to pick up this year, even as overall IT expenditures are projected to decline. The increase reflects a new willingness among big companies, even those in particularly security-minded industries such as finance, to move beyond the corporate data center and run their software applications, data storage and processing in the public cloud.”

Consider another budding development: As reported by InformationWeek’s Charles Babcock, in a new U.S. federal government analysis, “19 out of 24 agencies reported that they had achieved a savings of $2.8 billion in operating costs and had avoided capital expenses between 2011 and 2015 by moving workloads into the cloud and not building more data center space.” This is an example sure to catch fire. So the world’s largest IT consumer, the U.S. government, is on the verge of cloud.

Who is going to take charge and lead this transition? Who’s going to seize on the coming rising tide of cloud adoption? IT executives are natural roles for this, but they can’t do it alone. It takes a team to build a cloud. Here are the roles of today’s and tomorrow’s cloud computing leaders who are leading the cloud revolution within their enterprises:

CIOs, CTOs, IT leaders and IT professionals. Even if an organization is 100% in the cloud, it will still need skilled managers and professionals who understand what the right solutions are for their enterprises.

Marketing and sales executives. These people are at the front lines of enterprises, and already are voracious users of solutions such as Salesforce. They are directly feeling the sting of the global economy, and want solutions that are quick and easy to learn. Time to market is everything.

Security managers. An understanding of security protocols is essential, no matter what type of cloud is being deployed. Related to this is an understanding of mandates and regulations – such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and the myriad of data-handling laws from the European Union to states within the United States.

Data managers and analysts. Having actionable information on which to base business decision requires consistency and timeliness of data. Will data generated through cloud-based systems mesh seamlessly with on-premises ERP, data warehouse or other systems? Data professionals are in strong demand, and those who can design systems that can ingest Big Data from the cloud, or use the cloud to provide analytical environments.

Enterprise architects, planners and analysts.  These people are essential for laying out a roadmap of what services – whether they are coming from IT or an outside provider – will be needed. They’re the ones able to work with the business, speak the language of business, as well as work with IT professionals.

Procurement or purchasing managers. Cloud makes vendors omnipresent in day-to-day operations, so individuals with training or savvy with vendor negotiating skills will be a must. Needed are people who know how to work with cloud providers, and are able to negotiate service-level agreements, availability. They need to be able to read the fine print in vendors’ contracts and call them on the carpet when things aren’t performing as planned.  These are the people who can step up to the plate and make the right noise when a cloud service goes down or is habitually underperforming.

Human resource managers. The ability to manage cloud environments — from building solutions to integrating data to managing operations — requires an ability to identify, recruit and train talent with the right skills.

CEOs, CFOs and other C-level executives. These are the people that need to be on board with any major cloud movements.

Employees — at all levels. Cloud computing services are empowering roles at all levels of organizations, providing a range of online productivity and collaboration services. Employees know what services they need to help them do their jobs and reach customers. Cloud decisions — and acceptance — will succeed or fail on employees’ embrace of services.

(Disclosure: Quest, IOUG and OAUG, mentioned at the beginning of this post, compensated me for my work with their survey project.)

This article was written by Joe McKendrick from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.