One of the things that most IT organizations don't take fully into account when pondering the move to cloud computing is how cultural factors within their own organization will impact the speed at which they can adopt this new style of enterprise computing.
There are, of course, a plethora of technical issues that need to be resolved. But Derick Townsend, senior director of marketing for ServiceMesh, a provider of cloud computing services, says that when organizations really think about making the move to cloud computing they will find that internal political issues will rise to the top of the list of barriers to adoption.
For example, a lot of application owners will resist giving up control of their applications and the dedicated servers due to not only concerns about application performance, but also the ability to deploy and control updates to those applications.
Other critical issues include paralysis of analysis, which generally results from fears of the unknown, and the presence of IT fiefdoms that, when coupled with legacy approaches to IT process management, basically doom any cloud computing project before it even gets started.
Townsend says that ServiceMesh recommends that companies first organize a 'Tiger Team' of senior managers to first address the business issues associated with cloud computing, which should be created alongside an 'IT Swat Team' that would be committed to accelerating the actual deployment of a cloud. That approach, he says, will eventually serve as a model for reorganizing how IT is managed across the company. But in the short term the critical requirement should be to gain some hands-on experience with cloud computing with an eye towards automating as many IT functions as possible.
If the IT management processes don't change, however, it's more than likely that the IT organization is simply going to wind up with just another stack of severs to manage alongside any number of legacy systems, which at the end of the day is just counterproductive.
While there's no doubt that the underlying technology that enables cloud computing is going to be a challenge to manage, it's really nothing compared to managing all the internal politics that need to be overcome in order to make it really happen.