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A recent survey of 1,850 senior managers, conducted by enterprise cloud company, ServiceNow exemplifies how important the cloud has become more important to the enterprise. Their research found over half (52 percent) of respondents are adopting “cloud-first” policies for new business applications. A revelation that may take most IT managers and staffers by surprise is that this statistic is expected to increase to 77% within the next two years. With more companies turning to the cloud first, IT organizations will need to do some serious re-tooling to successfully navigate through this new era.
Allan Leinwand, chief technology officer at ServiceNow told GigaOM that “cloud first initiatives are forcing IT to rethink their skillsets”. What Leinwand is talking about is the potential sea of change that IT will have to accommodate as staffers transition from provisioning servers, storage and building private data centers to becoming the purveyors of cloud services.
In addition to reaching a Cloud-First “tipping point,” ServiceNow’s research revealed that the nascent DevOps movement, which is seizing the mantle of a cloud first ideology, is rapidly becoming favored by the enterprise. DevOps has quickly become the poster child of the agile development movement, backed by a revealing statistic, where 76% of those surveyed opined that DevOps is driving the shift to cloud first.
This statistic may be a sign of trouble for IT. After all, cloud initiatives have always fallen under the auspices of the IT department, with IT managers dealing with the disruptive nature of the cloud. In other words, IT management had assumed that when it came to the cloud, that they would be leading the charge.
Leinwand added “DevOps is being embraced across the enterprise and is no longer being relegated to just IT departments.” The survey backs Leinwand’s claims, with 63% of respondents stating that DevOps is a philosophy to be taught to existing departments, rather than a new division.
Ultimately, the survey points out that IT must evolve, if it expects to survive the transition of business processes to the cloud. 89% of those surveyed have completed the shift to a cloud-first model, said their current IT staff lacked the skillsets needed to help them make this to shift. Yet, there is still hope for traditional IT, with 72% surveyed saying this cloud-first shift actually increases IT’s relevancy to the business, with 68% stating that IT will become essential in the future.
The rapid growth in cloud adoption has been fueled by pressures to transform line of business processes into digital environments, with the LOB leaders looking to adopt solutions that can scale and adapt on demand. To achieve that lofty goal of digital transformation, IT executives must become part of the process. In other words, IT management needs to become the facilitators of tactical decisions that are made by corporate leaders, and also work hand in hand with DevOps to optimize the resources needed to drive business.
While those numbers may seem like mixed signals, it all comes down to how IT is viewed in the corporate environment and how LOB leaders think IT should participate, a revelation backed by some 65% stating that they want IT to operate as a strategic partner.
The call to action for IT comes in the form of communicating with the rest of the company and consider agile ideologies to help fuel a cloud first movement. By becoming a strategic partner to the business, IT can increase its relevancy and be part of the digital transformation era. ServiceNow’s survey offers additional advice and statistics for those looking to transform IT into a cloud friendly, enablement partner for the enterprise.