As cloud takes over, what is the role of the IT manager?

As cloud takes over, what is the role of the IT manager?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | Staff Writer

The industrialisation of IT has long commenced.

Legacy systems requiring manual management of IT structure have fallen to the wayside, one by one, as automated cloud computing systems have usurped the place of typical IT professionals and infrastructure managers. Unrest has shaken the industry since at least 2010, and the same advice has been issued over and over again, in varying tones.

Forbes contributor Reuven Cohen put it bluntly: "You can adapt or die.”

Today, IT professionals must expect greater collaboration with other business units. According to IT World , business analysts and project managers will be in high demand concerning IT, as "user requirements must still be collected, cloud-based vendors must still be selected, and applications must still be integrated into business processes.” Technologists, security specialists, and infrastructure specialists will all be in high demand.

Unfortunately, software developers and programmers won’t be…within IT organisations, anyway. Cloud-based software vendors will have a high demand for these professionals as demand for the cloud increases.

Jobs are not disappearing, but shifting. IT managers and system administrators may require new, easily learnable skills.

"In these roles, they will be responsible for helping their organisations transition to a new IT environment,” said Vanessa Alvarez, an industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan,
in her article . "Ultimately, there is the need for (non-IT) end users to understand what this new environment can provide for them, how they can leverage these resources, and what is the value achieved from this.”

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Changing Role of IT Managers

IT managers will need to become collaborators with other business units and be willing to serve as a source of expertise for company employees, especially as the cloud takes over. Essentially, Alvarez said, IT managers will need to brush up on their "people” skills.

Above all, rejecting the cloud within one’s IT organisation on the basis that it will eliminate jobs is not rational, especially considering the alternative: clinging to expensive legacy systems and missing opportunities to innovate when competitors may have already done so.

In a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, more than a quarter of respondents felt their organisations were at a disadvantage because they weren’t agile enough to anticipate marketplace shifts. By being agile themselves, IT managers can enable their company to innovate with infrastructure and save money, time, and talent. Introducing the cloud can be part of that plan, and help ensure that a company progresses beyond its competitors.

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt have only ever held companies back. The most successful companies—and professionals—are innovative and willing to learn.


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