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Cloud and the IT department: Five years down the road

What will the cloud management IT team look like in five years?

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Until recently, IT departments hadn't changed much since the days of mainframes. But the move to cloud computing brings the potential to dramatically alter age-old operating procedures, especially when it comes to managing computer resources. Many IT departments and IT pros are not ready for these drastic changes, but that won't stop them from coming.

Cloud computing has dramatically changed the data center's structure, rewriting IT job descriptions. Businesses now hand a portion of their data centers' operations to public cloud service providers. As the outsider's role grows in the data center, the traditional IT team's responsibilities shift and sometimes even diminish.

In addition, many companies will no longer value in-depth technical knowledge as they did in the past. Traditionally, companies needed to hire IT 'techies' to get systems up and keep them running because hardware, storage and network connections were not reliable. Because of advances in virtualization and automation -- which paved the way for cloud -- this staffing need has diminished dramatically in recent years.

Consequently, there will be less of a need for individuals skilled in one specific system, such as a Cisco network engineer. Instead of technical depth, the IT staff will need business skills and the ability to work with various business units within the enterprise. An IT department must be able to understand service-level agreements, track business-unit spending through methods such chargeback or showback and much more. It's no longer simply about writing code.

This was first published in April 2013

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