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A Brave New Cloud Computing World: How do You Transition From Traditional IT to Cloud Computing?

There’s no question that the cloud is the future of IT. But making that transition isn’t always easy – especially if your company has been purchasing PCs, servers, and software for the past few decades.

I have already discussed some of the ways that cloud computing is influencing the IT industry. Of particular importance among the many changes in the IT industry, and the need for professionals to adapt, is that cloud providers are starting to massively affect the ways traditional hardware and software companies sell and get paid for their products.

In my company’s experience, the shift from owning our own hardware and software to migrating to a model based purely on Software as a Service meant we were left with lots of used hardware and software to sell. But there was also a much larger issue: What do we do with all of the internal IT resources that managed the hardware and software we just sold?

To me, this change is no different than the industry trend towards outsourced IT. The goal of the outsourced IT company is to reduce your internal IT expenses by leveraging a more efficient, scalable and cost-effective source that ultimately saves your company money. But as your company starts to shift towards SaaS-based services, their services decline, so in a way they are cannibalizing their own revenue model. That’s a lot like how internal IT employees might feel when helping their company shift to SaaS-based services.

I have had many discussions with outsourced IT companies, and some of them understand that their traditional business model of building and maintaining servers is shifting. To stay competitive, they now need to help companies reduce overall expenses by migrating to the cloud. In doing so, they are becoming more efficient, because now they can attract much larger companies as clients. Why? Simple: It’s much more efficient to manage SaaS-based and IaaS-based services, so fewer people are needed to manage larger accounts.

The smart internal IT people I talk to are thinking the same way: They are elevating themselves within the company, managing the migration to these cloud-based services with their leftover capacity, and demonstrating the additional value they can bring to their organization. In our organization, these were people that transitioned from maintaining our server room to managing SaaS-based services and creating additional value in building dashboards to our product offerings that help drive our business.

In these conditions, how do you position yourself to help a company transition to cloud computing?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Consult on the opportunity to move to the cloud versus in-house IT;
  • Consult in helping to figure out what is needed for the company to move to the cloud;
  • Consult on choosing the best cloud provider based on the company’s specific needs;
  • Assist integration with existing systems;
  • Help other company members adapt to the new technology;
  • Troubleshoot the remaining IT infrastructure that can’t yet be moved to the cloud;
  • Show the plan after the cloud transition is complete — and show where you bring in value once the company is operating more efficiently and saving money!

By Rick Blaisdell

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