Dave Hale, CIO, E2Open Inc
E2Open Inc (EOPN) is a provider of cloud-based, on-demand software solutions enabling enterprises to procure, manufacture, sell, and distribute products more efficiently through collaborative execution across global trading networks. Founded in 2005, the company's impressive clientele include Celestica, Cisco, Dell, Hitachi, IBM, LSI, Motorola, RIM, Seagate, and Vodafone. David Hale is responsible for the company's software-as-a-service operations, IT operations, and global support.
A flood of recent articles and posts in the trade press appears bent on ratcheting up the anxiety of IT professionals as cloud-based technologies continue to gather strength and importance.
To be fair, any disruptive technology is going to create some anxiety, as by definition it changes the landscape; certainly the cloud is rapidly changing the information technology market. Apart from the initial fears (e.g., the cloud will do away with IT careers) and temptations (e.g., the cloud will set me free), the ultimate reality of the cloud is that it presents new opportunities and challenges to IT professionals.
Through the cloud, organizations perform tasks or use applications that leverage vast outsourced computing and processing power, which enables them to quickly scale services and applications to meet changing demands without requiring significant capital outlays for new network assets. This increases IT flexibility and can lower costs—but it also disrupts the normal course of business. Specifically, the cloud empowers business teams to do things that were previously the exclusive responsibility (and competency) of the IT organization. In today’s world of "everything cloud," business teams have direct access to IT resources via third-party cloud providers—and this means that technology strategy and decision-making are open to new influencers. But this is not necessarily bad news for the IT function. It does, however, require a willingness from CIOs and IT managers to re-imagine the role and function of their teams within this new paradigm—and the ways in which they can most effectively support and guide their business counterparts.
Put differently, the new opportunity for IT organizations is to: understand the shift to Internet -enabled applications, prepare their enterprise environments accordingly, and evolve management styles to meet the promise of cloud computing. IT organizations capable of this type of re-engineering and flexibility will be well positioned to reap the rewards of today’s best cloud solutions. After all, the function of cloud-based technologies is not to replace existing IT organizations, but to extend the value of the core systems they have built as well as validate the quality and effectiveness of those systems.