Are you recreating existing technology silos in the Cloud? If so, your entire enterprise investment in the Cloud is at risk.
From the perspective of IT, organizational silos seem to be the root of all problems. Every line of business, every department, every functional area has its own requirements, its own technology preferences, and its own way of doing things. They have historically invested in specialized components for narrow purposes, which IT must then conventionally integrate via application middleware --- increasing the cost, complexity, and brittleness of the overall architecture.
Now those same stakeholders want to move to the Cloud. Save money with SaaS apps! Reduce data center costs with IaaS! Build a single Private Cloud we can all share! But breaking down the technical silos is easier said than done. There are endless problems: Static interfaces. Legacy technology. Inconsistent policies, rules, and processes. Crusty old middleware that predates the Cloud. And everybody still has their own data model and their own version of the truth.
The Cloud alone can't solve these complex challenges. In fact, the challenge is not entirely within the realm of IT. Organizational change is also necessary – and of course, such change is the most difficult to achieve, especially when the underlying force driving the transformation is technological. Enterprise architecture is part of the solution, of course, but when the business stakeholders resist necessary change, no level of exhortation from the architecture team will make much difference.
How, then, do we find our way out of this impasse? In particular, how can the IT organization drive the organizational change necessary to break down the silos necessary to achieve strategic value with the Cloud? The answer, of course, is money. Whenever IT (or any other part of the business, for that matter) wants to effect change in their organization, they must translate their message into the financial benefits their organization can achieve by making the change.
Siloed technology, fundamentally, is inefficient. It’s expensive to purchase, to maintain, and in particular, to integrate. We need a better approach to implementing technology that brings silos together, while allowing the personalization and customization that meets stakeholder needs. It’s time to rethink how we handle both data and code to align with the storage and processing model of the Cloud: distributed, horizontally scalable, and event-driven. We need an intelligent, active approach to building and running applications that is both dynamic and inherently Cloud-friendly.
Such an approach will take some time, as most IT departments must rebuild long-lost credibility with business stakeholders. But by achieving greater levels of efficiency and cost savings while driving toward the strategic goals of the enterprise, the IT organization can be a positive force for business transformation in their organizations. But first, they must get the technology right.