Wie die Public Cloud die IT-Organisation von Unternehmen grundlegend verändert
The trends for IT organization in recent years have oscillated between two poles: outsourcing and insourcing or backsourcing. On the one hand, the ongoing discussions about the optimal form of IT organization underscore the growing role of technology for any form of business. On the other hand, they also reflect increasing demands on the know-how and areas of deployment of IT staff. As is so often the case, the public cloud is also acting as a catalyst here.
How is the classic IT organization set up today?
How the developer subculture is becoming mainstream In German companies (sales > €100 million), an average of €20 million per year is available for IT departments. Classically, this consists of three main areas: Data Center, Application Support and Application Development, each of which is entitled to approximately 16 to 21% of the IT budget.
- In the Data Center, for example, databases are maintained, backups are organized and applications are made available to users.
- Application Development develops new applications or adapts existing software to current requirements.
- Other tasks are performed by teams for Data Network, Help Desk, Application Support, Voice Network and the Desktop and Peripherals unit.
- As cross-divisional departments, Finance, Management and Administration keep an eye on the economic efficiency of IT.
Many of these tasks are changing significantly through the use of the public cloud and are thus causing a complete reorganization of the IT landscape in German companies.
How does the public cloud change the tasks and relevance of the IT organization?
Simply replace? Without sacrificing quality or availability? This will soon be a reality for the existing Data Center, Data Network and Voice Network departments thanks to public cloud offerings. In the areas of application support and application development, an increase in efficiency can even be expected thanks to cloud technologies. We can imagine the following scenarios for the other areas of IT organizations:
In direct contact with end users, the use of cloud technologies will change little in terms of visible processes. Although chatbots or self-service elements help to automate some of the tasks, individual user support by specialists will remain indispensable for many questions.
Application Management and Maintenance
High savings can be achieved with the public cloud in the administration and maintenance of the software used in the company: Processes optimized by cloud solutions during software development as well as application administration can achieve higher performance with the same number of employees. This only works if appropriately integrating methods are used and cultural changes are taken into account.
Server Management and Data Center
Without question, the most serious impact of the public cloud on our IT organizations will be visible in the areas of server management and data center operations.
With the use of cloud-based as-a-service solutions, server management tasks are practically completely outsourced. Whereas with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), for example, the import of patches or regular anti-virus scans remain with in-house IT, hyperscalers take over these tasks completely in the SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) expansion stages.
In either case, there is no need to procure hardware. There will be a transitional period for data centers operated in-house. However, it is foreseeable that this will also be completely disrupted by the cloud. Exceptions may be individual islands with decentralized data processing, e.g. edge computing for processes on machines or control units.
Many of the traditional functions can be reduced by the cloud applications. In return, new functions such as the support of IoT devices or VR glasses will be added. The overall effort compared to previous solutions will remain constant.
Without data centers and their own servers, network support is becoming less important. In the office sector with connected peripherals such as printers, scanners and other devices, however, smoothly functioning networks are still immensely important.
The fact that companies develop their own software will continue to represent an important economic factor in the future. The use of cloud technologies should additionally strengthen the players here: They are the ones who improve internal processes, drive innovation and develop decisive competitive advantages for the company.
What are the tasks facing the corporate IT organization?
The results show that for some parts of the IT organization, no glaring changes will occur. Other areas will have to reckon with more effort due to the increasing complexity. On the whole, the use of a public cloud can be compared to a type of IT outsourcing.
The new tasks resulting from public cloud should in any case be viewed with a clear strategic focus. They should be placed centrally in the care of the management boards to ensure that the innovations are integrated into the overall concept of the company.
So which parts of the IT organization will be particularly busy as a result of the public cloud environment?
Innovation managers can already prepare for an increase in their tasks: The new solutions require expert assessment and evaluation. The actual implementation must also be coordinated and controlled with the specialist departments.
When it comes to supplier management, there will be little change in the overall effort of the IT organization. However, the focus will shift from the supply of hardware to the supply or provision of software and services. Standard contracts will become rarer. On the other hand, the integration of business departments in all decision-making processes will become increasingly important, which will require a clearly structured set of rules for concluding contracts. Instead of fewer large suppliers, there will be more small suppliers.
The use of cloud computing makes data protection an essential issue for ensuring the security of corporate data. This department is faced with new tasks. For example, it is essential to clarify who owns the data at the respective providers, which governance processes must be observed (e.g., starter changer leaver), and which technical specifications must be met in any case.
Experienced software architects are indispensable for the meaningful integration of external technologies into existing business processes. They will have to perform more tasks as a result of the public cloud - but they will save time in maintaining the infrastructure in the future.
IT security is shifting away from physical access control to data centers or servers to software-based security techniques. The effort involved is likely to remain more or less the same.
Instead of cost control for in-house solutions, the costs for cloud technologies will increasingly appear on the list of controllers. The use of dynamic resources and ad hoc bookings increases the complexity in controlling. On the other hand, the number of cost allocations from the IT department and business units is gradually decreasing.
Pure IT project management will no longer be required for most tasks in the future. Instead, project managers will be recruited from the specialist departments or directly from IT application development. In the long term, a central project management department will be eliminated - and absorbed into the individual specialist departments.
What do these prospects mean for the future of the companies?
The public cloud ensures better processes in many companies. Agility increases sustainably because new technologies are available quickly and directly. For example, certain applications can only be used temporarily until a project is completed. If other applications are needed for the next project, they can simply be switched without delay or additional costs. This allows companies to react very flexibly to the market - provided they have dealt with the relevant cultural and organizational challenges in advance.
And one of the core challenges is to offer employees opportunities for further development from the changes in the IT organization - based on their current tasks and skills - and thus manage the transition to the public cloud step by step.