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There’s an interesting article over on Forbes.com today from Joe McKendrick called From Annoyance to Harmonizer: Cloud Computing’s Maturity Curve.
Those who know me would probably say that I’m no shrinking violet in my commenting on articles on the Web, but I read a lot of articles that don’t provoke me to comment. This one did.
The article talks about, in part, the impact on IT departments of cloud computing efforts initiated by the business without IT’s support or buy-in.
Here’s what I had to say about that.
With the majority of my consulting clients “the IT department workarounds — to get applications up and running faster, or to get around IT departments” is a serious trend. IT departments can’t complain about those end runs unless they can provide viable alternatives. If IT doesn’t support the business sufficiently, the business goes elsewhere.
I work almost exclusively with Microsoft SharePoint. Even where SharePoint is rolled out as a corporate platform for collaboration, the Intranet, whatever, IT often sidles away once the servers are up and kicking. This can be because they don’t really have the skills to work collaboratively with their user base or simply because the budget isn’t there to do much more. Whatever the reason may be, if the platform isn’t supported and enhanced over time to meet new business needs, the users may turn to something like Google Docs instead. This makes the initial investment a waste and further degrades the IT reputation.
Get out of the server rooms and sit with your business users. Find out what they really need to get their work done. Don’t write huge specs; work collaboratively with them to build what will help them get their work done. Watch for patterns across different user bases and develop generalized solutions that can be tailored to meet specific needs. Be proactive. Lead.
I recommend the article for its interesting statistics as well.
When it comes to SharePoint’s maturity curve, you’ll be doing yorself a favor if you check out the SharePoint Maturity Model, invented, built, and maintained by the wonderful Sadie Van Buren (@sadalit).