CIO roles: A CIO becomes a cloud enthusiast and outgrows his mentors- Valutrics

My big private, hybrid, public cloud strategy

All right. That is enough preamble. Here is how we make it real:

    1. We have moved a number of what were internal applications to SaaS offerings.

Why? Let’s look at our decision to move CRM to the cloud. Our on-premises CRM was an invitation to make customizations and enhancements that eventually required the support of two software engineers. I don’t want to specialize in CRM customizations and so we implemented a zero-customizations instance of a market-leading cloud CRM. That freed up my two CRM engineers to work on software products that define my area of specialization — software that moves the needle in the lives of our customers. I have done the same with my contact center and digital marketing applications and, in turn, focused my team on what matters most to our customers.

    2. We shut down our on-premises data center and moved into a managed data center.

Why? To better define our areas of specialization and, even more importantly, to be loosely coupled. In the first phase of this move, we moved our hardware to the managed data center. Since then, as it came time for hardware refresh, we have moved our services to someone else’s hardware — we have thus separated our systems from hardware and so can move around those services as needed. To do this we had to get really good at things like virtualization and orchestration (but those sound like good areas for specialization), as well as modernization. Modernization required us to separate our data layer from our business logic layer and our user interface layer from our business logic layer. But doing this has “loosely coupled” the most important elements in my stack. We still have a way to go, but it feels good to be less and less a hostage to the decisions of others. If my database provider implements a price increase, I can migrate to a different database product. If my CRM provider veers off-track, I can implement with a new provider.

    3. We have adopted a more mature (less personal) approach to security, reliability and scalability.

I decided a long time ago that any decent cloud provider has to be a lot better at security, reliability and scalability than I am. Why? If a cloud provider has a data breach, they are out of business and their loosely coupled clients will move to a different provider. If my systems have a breach, it is painful and I might lose my job, but my business will likely survive. And it will probably be no more inclined to invest in security, reliability and scalability than it was before the breach. For cloud providers, security, reliability and scalability amount to mission-critical specializations — the best I can hope for in these areas is to be a generalist.

That sort of sums up what I told my two retired CIO friends — we are private, hybrid and public cloud users and are trending first toward hybrid and public cloud and then only public cloud as we and the providers mature. By the time I retire my mentees might wonder why I ever did anything as old-fashioned as private and hybrid cloud.