Who should be making your cloud decisions?

The advent of the cloud has brought new life to old IT battles. Who should be making the call? The techies? IT management? The CIO and top executives? Here are my thoughts.

The guys and gals with their hands on the server keyboards are the ones most likely to know what’s what with the tech. Quick, can you tell me the differences between Kubernetes, Docker Datacenter and Mesosphere DC/OS?



Yeah, that’s what I thought.

All three are open-source container management platforms. Each is designed to run cloud-enabled IT workloads on containers. Which one you pick will make a big difference in your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) strategy.

On the other hand, while the developers and sysadmins may feel good about how they can make the technology jump, they don’t tend to see the big picture. For example, if you’re on the tech side, can you tell me the difference between business metrics and key performance indicators?

Right. You may know C++ like the back of your hand, but end-action rates for banner ads is a mystery to you.

Some companies take it as gospel that the C suite should make all the decisions. To quote the Harvard Business Review, C-level “IT executives are the right people to make numerous decisions about IT management — the choice of technology standards, the design of the IT operations center, the technical expertise the organization will need, the standard methodology for implementing new systems.”

When I read stuff like that, Dilbet’s pointy-haired boss immediately springs to mind. My roots are as a techie and I’ve seen just how wide the gap is between what management thinks technology can do and what it can really do.

IT managers might seem to be the best group to make decisions. They should be able to speak techie and then translate it into English, or executive jargon anyway. But, they usually don’t have the tech chops needed to make a truly informed decision — and they don’t have the clout to make corporate decisions.

So, there are real problems with giving any single group the power to make the cloud decisions.

In my opinion, if you really want to make an informed decision, you need to get representatives from all three branches — business executives, IT managers and techies — of your company.

Yes, meetings can be very annoying. I hate most, but when it comes to the cloud, it’s different. Your corporate cloud decisions will determine the future of your company. You need to take everyone’s view into consideration.

The C-level can push for the overall enterprise goals to be met. IT can focus on the down-and-dirty details that make the difference between successful implementations and abject failures. IT management should be the glue that makes sure both sides don’t go flying out of the meetings, sure that the other side doesn’t have a clue.

Once a decision is in sight, then legal and other stakeholders should be brought in. It’s easy to make the wrong cloud call. You want everyone to be on board so you can make the best possible decision.


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