Lack of cloud computing vision is hurting most enterprises

The pervasive use of the cloud without an overall strategy greatly diminishes its value

The use of cloud computing within most enterprises and government agencies is rather ad hoc these days. This is understandable, considering the tactical and even experimental nature of most cloud computing deployments, as well as the learning curve that most IT organizations are going through in moving to the cloud.

However, if history is any guide, I suspect that the tactical and ad hoc nature of moving to the cloud will continue to manifest itself as cloud computing continues to mature. Thus, private, public, and hybrid cloud computing services will be used without any kind of overall vision or strategy.

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The core issue with a lack of strategy is that cloud computing is about driving a holistic change in IT, but doing so a bit at a time. Thus, there really should be an overreaching idea of where the enterprise or agency is heading with cloud computing technology, and then tactical solutions created around that vision or framework.

This issue is really around both value and risk: value that is increased around a clearly defined objective of finding better and less expensive ways to do computing, and the cost of risks that increases dramatically when there is no plan.

The fact of the matter is that IT is very good at buying technology and tossing it at business problems, but not so good at planning. Indeed, if you want to be the most hated man or woman in IT, try being the person in charge making sure that everything adheres to a plan or budget. You won't get invited out to many lunches, trust me.

However, for all this cloud stuff to work, you really need to focus on the end game, moreso than with any other fundamental technology shift. Those that don't will end up with another set of new cloud-based systems that are highly dysfunctional in how they work and play together. In other words, cloud computing won't be able to deliver on the expected business value.

This article, "Lack of cloud computing vision is hurting most enterprises," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.