Three CIOs discuss how they have learned to handle the staffing and organizational changes caused by cloud computing.
Guy Hadari, Teva Pharmaceuticals:
Shift From ‘Doing’ to ‘Process Understanding’
We’re putting some critical processes and services in the cloud, and that will grow substantially. On the infrastructure side, we’re moving traditional compute services to the cloud, and that affects the skills we need.
Traditional infrastructure professionals were hard-core “doers” who built and deployed servers. When you put that infrastructure in the cloud, suddenly someone else is doing everything. That’s difficult for people who were used to being king of their domain–they have to take a business requirement, create a clear specification to support it, hand it over to the provider and verify that it works. It’s a very different skill set, and not everyone is capable of making that change.
We’re also moving aggressively into software-as-a-service for our HR, procurement and sales systems. Historically, we bought big applications that we configured in-house, and that required people with specific skills to develop, configure, run and maintain them. In the cloud, we don’t need developers or database administrators; we need business analysts who can take our business processes and tailor them to what the SaaS provider is offering. As cloud computing becomes even more pervasive, IT will be aligned not with business functions, but with business processes.
When I joined the company, our data center was archaic and applications were custom-built. There were frequent disruptions, user satisfaction was low, and costs were high.
Today, most of our applications are in the cloud, which has turned things around. Since embracing platform as a service, my operations team is half the size it used to be. Although we’ve rolled out 50 new applications, the data center has shrunk. Help desk calls have decreased because we don’t build much custom code.
The cloud migration was very disruptive to IT. We were a traditional IT group, equally split among program management, development and operations. Everyone had a single role, whether system administrator or software developer. It was an inefficient model–we hired fewer people than we needed, and consequently, service suffered.
The profile of my ideal developer has changed. I want someone who is a blend of project manager, business analyst and developer, and is capable of having a productive conversation with the business. I don’t need as many hard-core programmers and testers. Building a relationship with the business–and understanding business processes–is more critical. About 70 percent of my team is new. By minimizing IT operations, we’ve been able to redirect resources to development, so although our overall size is the same, we’re six times more productive.
Larry Jones, Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceuticals:
Create a Cloud Architect Role
We decided that we needed a “cloud business IT architect” to augment our corporate IT shared services. With on-premises solutions, integration isn’t easy, but it’s achievable. The cloud is a different animal, especially when integrating business processes across SaaS systems and cloud platforms. We needed someone focused on figuring that out.
We retrained a data architect from our business intelligence group, which was a better investment than expensive consultants or an external hire. Already we’ve learned that mapping business processes to cloud solutions is like a technology quilt–patches that you must stitch together.
We also moved to a mostly offshore development model, and it’s unclear how well that works for cloud business solutions. Release management for traditional software is very different from dynamically configuring a cloud solution. We must ensure that new features map to our business processes. While that may not be easy in a legacy outsourcing model, it certainly warrants testing out.