Given the outsourcing of applications to the cloud and the mobilization of information technology, IT and business staff are taking on new roles and new responsibilities.
Are you still a system administrator in the time-honored sense? Somebody whose job it is to plan, install, configure, and maintain your company IT infrastructure? Then you'll have to be very tough or very flexible, for your job is about to reach the end of its shelf life -- at least at many enterprises. The transition to cloud technology and virtualization means IT managers need new and different skills.
Corporate IT has to be able to explain the reasons for moving to cloud. This means you must have a clear idea of the intended economic benefits associated with the flexible provisioning and billing of IT capacity. Sound business management skills are vital for this.
But as soon as you have weighed the economic advantages and chosen a provider, many more questions arise that go far beyond the administration of mountains of data and ensuring the entire IT system runs smoothly. Can your data be stored in a cloud based abroad? Will that conflict with local data protection rules? These issues and responsibilities mean that IT managers suddenly take on a role that's more akin to that of a controller or security officer.
As a result, enterprise architects are increasingly becoming business architects who oversee the merger of technology and business processes. Apart from the expertise needed to assess solutions, above all they must work together with individual departments to find the best services available on the market for specific problems. The purpose of business architecture is to ensure the cohesion of different departments, explained Alex Cullen, an analyst at Forrester Research.
In addition to the business architect, other special roles requiring retraining or the hiring of new staff include:
Data scientist: The amount of data doubles every 18 months, according to several estimates. Businesses need big-data scientists to analyze the flow of data and filter out knowledge useful for the company. Data scientists discover trends, which enable customer contacts to be optimized, and security threats to be tracked down.
Social media architect: IBM, Jive, and Yammer have launched an interesting new solution for firms by offering tools for private and open clouds that redefine social media for business purposes. Organizations require IT specialists to set up safe communities within corporate networks and control the dialogue between employees and customers.
Mobile device manager: The mobilization of IT has been called the biggest revolution since the PC entered the workplace. Challenges for mobile device management include BYOD (bring your own device), setting up mobile apps, devising a mobile strategy, and securing mobile devices.
These changes don't just mean that corporate IT needs to be restructured. Employees' skills must be adapted to the cloud and the heightened requirements. Training is required to ensure that everyone is aware of the legal consequences of their actions and takes the necessary precautions.
The new roles mean that corporate IT shoulders more responsibility, and above all, greater creative scope. Is this an opportunity or a burden?
— Charlotte Erdmann comments on a wide range of technologies from her base in Berlin. In addition to blogging, she is a media and communication consultant, organizing and managing large customer magazines and marketing activities within the IT industry.