Will your cloud smarts be rewarded?

Many enterprises are reorganizing around cloud. For the right people to get the top jobs, IT orgs will have to change

Will your cloud smarts be rewarded?
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Back on the topic of organizational impact around the implementation of cloud computing, I’ve had many questions about who’s going to be impacted. Better put, are IT organizations going to promote the better people to the top around the use of cloud computing? 

As I tell those who will listen, this is an opportunity for IT leaders to improve things.   However, I suspect that won’t occur. Here’s why.

As a pattern, I see executive leadership promote those in IT who have the least vision and the greatest political instincts. Case in point: those who have been advocating for cloud computing internally for years not getting promoted or even recognized. In some cases, it has even negatively impacted their career. 

Indeed, those in IT who have pushed back on cloud computing have generally held their position in the company’s IT department, or have even been promoted. In some cases, they have gotten credit for the movement to cloud, when they were actually an impediment.     

This isn’t really a surprise. Unfortunately, we have a few core realities in corporate IT management. Pay is more a matter of how well an employee can negotiate a salary, than a matter of merit or talent. Moreover, and more importantly, those who are hired or promoted to management are often the more politically astute, rather than those who have a vision of what IT needs to be. This includes understanding the potential value of new technology, such as cloud computing or whatever is next. 

What can you do? Not a lot if you’re not in executive leadership. However, I would recommend two ideas to consider:

  • First, use metrics for promotions and raises that value vision and innovation more than the ability to keep the executives above you happy.
  • Second, focus on value delivered by IT. This means reducing costs, but at the same time increasing productivity and agility and decreasing time to market. This typically means using cloud computing in strategic ways. 

There’s no easy way to fix this, considering that this is about people and not technology. It’s harder to change hearts and minds than platforms.