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Microsoft Cloud

Concerning the Cloud: Who speaks for IT?

Just exiting a wonderful week at MMS 2013, I’ve had a few days to ponder the messaging promoted through the Microsoft-led sessions and the keynote address by Bill Anderson, VP of the Server and Tools division at Microsoft.  And, not just ponder on my own, but get feedback about the event from many other attendees.  Being a founding member of the Microsoft Management Summit, from way back in 1998, I have a unique bond with the event and the attendee community, so I’m able to gather feedback that others would not be able to achieve. I’ve been the community leader for System Center for as long as I can remember.  It’s not something I sought.  It was unintended.  It just happened. Because of that, I’ve attempted to hold the position true and honest. The level of trust bestowed on me by the System Center customer community has been overwhelming and hugely rewarding, allowing me to understand how Microsoft messaging is being received in the various business sectors.

As a community leader, one has to be able to talk the tough talk, be brutally honest at times, political other times, but always represent the community’s needs and desires.  In the case of the Cloud, it seems no one is speaking for IT.  This is a horrible thing. This is the Apple/Google generation where you’re likely to be laughed at for raising security and privacy concerns about the Cloud and it’s offspring initiatives (example: BYOD) because consumers have been zombified by flashy technology.

It starts with a CEO reading an Inflight magazine and ends with a company-wide initiative to deploy technology based on the buzzword of the day.  Sure, there are case studies galore to accompany the initiative, but rarely do decision makers and business leaders truly understand the business.  They just see something cool and want to be first to implement.  The case studies even seem to cover the same type of company, so things should be OK, right?  Don't implement something just because a case study somewhere said it worked for someone else. Remember, an organization may look similar to an organization in a case study, but as IT knows, every environment is different and requires careful planning and testing. And, even then, the buzzword technology may not make sense.  Still the business leaders push back because everyone else is doing it, and IT feels the pressure.

It’s a massive game of Jenga. As we move tech from one place to another, it’s that one piece that will cause the whole stack to come crashing down. Maybe it will be security.  Maybe privacy.  Maybe it will be something we haven’t even realized yet.  But, it’s coming.  And, when it topples, guess who gets blamed?  Not the business leaders.

The Cloud makes sense in a lot of ways, and there are a lot of companies that can obtain value from it today.  But, this is not the case with every company, or for every technology deployed in the organization.  For many, moving company email to the cloud is a no-brainer, but migrating entire on-premise servers to Windows Azure VMs still seems a bit mystical and out of touch.

During a Twitter conversation recently, someone suggested that WindowsITPro serves too much Cloud “hype” and not enough education.  And, that got me thinking.  Hearing the Cloud message at MMS 2013 and then learning about the Twitter conversation, I believe no one is speaking for IT – at least not in the way that is needed.  Too many vendors and analyst groups are hoarding the conversation and drowning out IT because if IT was a required buy-in, the market potential would dry up.  Yes, it’s about money.

I would truly love to have an open, honest conversation about the Cloud and its many cousin initiatives.  So, as we move forward, expanding and improving the WindowsITPro brand, let me open it up to you.  We want to provide a trustworthy source for your Cloud education.  We promise not to “hype” the Cloud, but instead give an honest evaluation based on the feedback you give us.  If it seems like hype, call us out on it.  Together, we can weave our way through this Cloud mess and let the vendors know that IT still matters. We can identify those areas that make sense and give prescriptive guidance, bash the technologies and services that don’t make sense, and ultimately hold the vendor community accountable.

Who speaks for IT?  We do.

We’ll be rolling out continuing coverage and content on the Cloud for as long as it takes to get the story straight and the masses educated.  I hope you get involved.

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