IBM’s CIO Executive Leadership Summit in Toronto
Technology implementation that skirts change management is like a fish out of water – it may swim for a bit, but without the proper supporting environment will quickly run out of stream. This is the case with cloud in particular which relies on people and IT process change to achieve its full promise. IT in Canada recently had an opportunity to speak with Michael Hill about this subject – about the art of cloud procurement, planning and implementation, viewed from a more holistic angle. VP of enterprise initiatives for IBM, Hill has led sales, services and business teams focused on cloud delivered solutions since 2008, and was on hand at
this spring to describe the role that cloud can play in encouraging organizational success.
According to Hill, though there may be “different points of insertion on how you begin the cloud conversation” which vary according to the customer,” the best starting point is to identify the key business challenge that the organization is trying to address. In discussion with the CIO or business leader, he explained, the best approach is “not to talk about cloud technology or specific products, but rather about business capabilities that cloud can bring to the table to solve a challenge.” As example, he pointed to an IT requirement that is common to most IT managers – the build, development, test and deployment of a new application. In most cases, this is a process that involves “a lot of downtime” as IT has to bring up new test environments and test code before migrating the app to production. At the same time, however, there is pressure to deliver quickly so users can respond to an opportunity or a competitive threat. While a test environment may take 10-12 weeks to launch in a traditional setup, with cloud, it can be brought up in a matter of minutes, or at most, under an hour – assuming the required prep work has been done in advance.