How cloud computing messes with your team

Agency IT departments need to reorient themselves as expert service consultants in the age of cloud computing, a report says.

The government’s migration to cloud computing for more of its basic IT will put different kinds of demands on agency IT staff members. Whether internal IT departments rise to the challenge will determine their personal future job prospects and the government’s overall ability to be an innovative and efficient user of IT, according to a new report from IDC Government Insights.

However, there will be plenty of important work to go around for properly skilled government IT staffers, even as more of the hands-on responsibilities they once had are outsourced to the cloud, Shawn McCarthy, research director, wrote in “Government IT Workers Can Find a Valuable New Niche as Solutions Migrate to Cloud.”

“Government employees who only maintain technology stacks will be less in demand,” McCarthy writes.

The greatest threat internal IT departments face is being left out of the loop if department managers and end users decide it's faster and easier going straight to a third-party cloud provider and acquiring services themselves than working through a centralized IT department.

Internal IT departments can avoid that by clearly providing value in a few important ways, McCarthy writes.

Internal staff members can retain an edge by understanding the special needs of their agency and being able to select appropriate technologies to meet those requirements, the report said.

“While a government agency can outsource the implementation of IT services, those cloud providers do not have depth of understanding when it comes to existing internal customers and the citizens they serve,” McCarthy writes.

Agency IT staffers can also enhance their value by becoming experts in the cloud service provider landscape, so they can guide their users as they weigh various options to meet their business needs. he said.

Finally, new cloud services are becoming the focal point for much of the innovation occurring in the technology industry. IT departments that can help their agency colleagues sort through and capitalize on these new capabilities, the report said.

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