MarkLeonard, Colt's executive VP for infrastructure, says internal resistance willbe the biggest barrier to cloud acceptance. He explains how they it be overcome
You have to recognise that for most people inyour organisation, cloud computing presents a massive culture change, MarkLeonard told the audience at the BroadGroup Data Centres event in Nice.
The CIO, says Leonard, is the person whospends time with the stakeholders in the company, trying to make IT delivermore profits for the shareholders and the board. But it's suddenly become mucheasier, as the cloud takes the pain out of rolling out new IT services. Atleast it would if he could get the IT staff behind him. But given that CIOsaren't always the best people managers, is that an easy task?
No, admits Leonard. The success of anycloud project relies entirely on the infrastructure people getting behind theprogramme. Change is notoriously difficult to implement, especially change thatcould threaten the livelihood of the people implementing it. That would be liketurkeys voting for Christmas.
Colt experienced this very human dramarecently, as it strove to reinvent itself as a cloud services providers. "Wecouldn't sell cloud services if we weren't a perfect example of how it works,"says Leonard.
The techies at Colt, however, were used todoing things a certain way. We all take comfort in rituals and tradition and techieshave long observed the sacred routine of taking big tin machines out of boxes,plugging them in, installing software and sitting at a console solving trivialpuzzles over teething problems with Unix or Linux.
You can only get people to accept changewillingly. Colt achieved this through coercion by advising infrastructure staffhow their careers could be improved. The British Computer Society (now theInstitute of Certified IT Professionals) played an instrumental role increating the right environment.
"The BCS was very useful in helping usbuild a career path for our staff," says Leonard.
The job of an infrastructure techie haschanged enormously in recent years. For example, they spend far more time usingVMWare now than they did on hand cranking Linux, says Leonard.
All the old divisions at Colt, for example,such as Linux, Unix, Windows and Infrastructure Design teams, are nowamalgamated into one virtualisation design team. (That's sounds like the sortof change that would unsettle anybody).
According to Leonard, the transitionworked. Now Colt claims to have a much more fluid operational and businesssupport systems, which have eliminated 95 per cent of its costs. Leonard didn'tgive me a breakdown of these costs, so you'll have to quiz him yourself.
This was first published in May 2011