June 21, 2011, 12:31 PM — Just to clear up an issue from yesterday, when I wrote that cloud computing was taking control of IT away from IT people: Cloud computing is not pushing IT into irrelevance; IT is doing that on its own.
Despite long experience and an extensive array of best-practice processes to control development, deployment and use of technology inside the corporation, IT really is losing control of its own domain through the cloud, primarily because it can't keep up the ability of its own users to adapt.
I wrote a bit about that yesterday, focusing on the speed with which CIOs are being pushed to migrate to cloud and SAAS apps, to keep ahead of their own clients, if for no other reason.
Eighty seven percent of business managers surveyed by Forrester said they dedicate a part of their budgets for IT services totally independent of IT and the security, compliance and price controls that are accessory benefits to having an IT department in the first place.
Standing in line for new systems from internal IT takes longer than just buying them yourself; with so many SAAS and cloud services out there, business managers can be excused from thinking only IT's inability to respond quickly is keeping them from getting the apps they really want.
What they get is IT that's generic by design – standardized for 100 customers rather than customized for one, which makes internal workflow less efficient because the way the company does things has to adhere to Salesforce software rather than the other way around.
Having IT anyone can buy also plays into the cul de sac Nicholas Carr was talking about in 2003 when he wrote "IT Doesn't Matter."
He got slammed from all over from that, but no one every contradicted Carr's main point: if everyone can buy the IT you're using, no matter how smart it is, the technology itself can't give you any unique advantages.
By definition technology that's available to everyone is a commodity; only IT that provides unique capabilities or uniquely helps an organization adapt its own processes can really provide a competitive advantage.
The key is difference; not everyone should be able to do what you do. If they can, it's not an advantage.