I spent yesterday afternoon at a CIMA members meeting to discuss enterprise 2.0, on the back of some commissioned research by Manchester Business School (Heba El-Sayed and Chris Westrup). It occurred to me that a lot of this plays well into the world of the IT professional not least because both professions are under the same sort of threat, the loss of work to outsourcing, and automation. However more importantly accountants see cloud, BI and enterprise 3.0 as all parts of the same thing. In another presentation the top reasons to move to the cloud were cited as:
- Improved billing
- speed of implementation
- Reduce IT spend and avoid the next refresh
- Flexibility & scale
- No more upgrade hell
- Global reach
These accountants don’t seem too worried by security and cite such examples as ADP, the world’s largest payroll company which is now all online. However the most alarming thing about the various presentations was a lack of knowledge about what the cloud is in its various forms. For them it is essentially software as a service i.e a vendor supplying their application from their servers. For me this is a classic example of the sort of thing the future IT professional should be doing - advising other parts of the business on new technology and how that translates into value for the business. You would also quite rightly explain some of the risks and implications such many of which would also apply to outsourcing and hosting:
- Possibly being locked into one vendor – so how easy is it to switch to another or bring the data back in house.
- What is the availability of the system and what redress is there in the event of an outage
- Where is my data stored e.g. within the EU
- What are the costs so the accountant can model ROI
So I would suggest that you initiate these conversations to show your thought leadership and support for the business as these discussions are going on in any case, and you should be involved. If you need help to articulate thinking and evidence to back it up your starter for ten would be the Microsoft’s cloud portal and for extra points on 21st June Simon and I will be looking at Governance Risk and Compliance in the cloud in our next TechDays Live session (BTW these sessions are recorded if you can’t make the date).