Where’s my IT department?

Interestingly, the cloud computing keynote and panel sessions at Sibos didn’t approach cloud computing from an IT angle as it is often done but truly from a business perspective.

Why are we interested in cloud computing in banking? Is it because of the economies of capital expenditure that we can achieve through virtualisation? Or is it because of the economies of operational expenditure we can achieve through standardisation and automation? Well, those will definitely help to build the business case for cloud in your organisation. However, the real business benefit of cloud is agility.

Today, we can source a web server from AWS (Amazon) and other providers in seconds. We can source a data feed in minutes and  source a CRM application on demand in hours. Ok, maybe a few days if adding in configuration. Everyone  can do that as a business, without the need to go to an IT department to do this. What you do need from the IT department is a login though – and that takes three weeks. We do like to build big systems and large data centres. But the problem is that diseconomies of complexity are crippling our agility. We need to build smarter, not larger.

So how do we do this?

Cloud computing today is not so much about ability anymore. It’s  there already. It’s more about mirroring that ability in our internal organisations. It’s about organising our internal IT capabilities and leveraging on existing cloud technology.

But it’s more often than not about overcoming our fear and understanding the privacy, security and regulatory aspects of the new technology. And that takes time.

In the meantime, hybrid cloud is a safe way to go. It allows us to mix an internal cloud for our sensitive systems and an external cloud for less sensitive systems. It allows us to better understand the technology and, of course, keep a job. Because, if in the end, computing becomes the much touted new commodity, will there still be a job for the CIO?

According to one of the panellists at Sibos, yes, but the role will change. The CIO will be the Cloud Interface Officer.

And what will happen to your IT department?

Well, it will be smaller, smarter and more agile. But it will still have clout.

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