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Is the Cloud the new Microsoft Access of IT?

Posted on Friday, August 28, 2009 | No Comments

At the Australian Architecture Forum this week I asked the panel the following question.

Given the ease of singing up to Software as a Service Cloud offerings, combined with eager business unit managers with a credit card, does this leave any room for Enterprise Architecture within IT? Is the only role for Enterprise Architects to come along afterwards and clean up the mess?
It was a leading question but I was surprised by the answer, the panel generally thought it was not that big a deal, EA would still be involved and they need to stay engaged with the business. However one of the panelists made the statement that the Cloud (and we are referring mainly to SaaS here) could be the new Microsoft Access of IT. I felt at the time the panel may have had their head in the clouds a little bit and not quite see the fearful reality of eager credit card holders within the enterprise spinning up new services because they could just not be bothered with Internal IT who always want to turn everything into a hard and complicated effort.

Then last night at CloudCamp Sydney someone asked essentially the same question. What do we do about people inside the Enterprise consuming Cloud outside of the controls of IT. Now I know that this person works for one of the largest Enterprises and IT consumers in this country, so if they are thinking about it then it really is a reality. So I might be onto something here. There was a little bit of interesting discussion around it, again coming back to the idea that users would get so far but would then come back to IT for help eventaully. However with the increasing ease of mashups etc this may take longer than people think.

I sent a twit on this topic.
Is the #cloud the new MS Access of Enterprise IT? Crack for users to start with and final headache for Enterprise Arch in the end.

@rodos disagree if done properly, people need to architect first, build second vs. the typical opposite approach

@rodos make your own DB -> write your own reports -> create your own SharePoint site -> provision your own cloud server - god help us!

I am certainly of the view that EA needs to be involved in Cloud initiatives inside the Enterprise. My fear is they are never going to know or be involved until its to late. Cloud will be like the MS Access of IT in the early days, but eventually people will come to their senses, using it as useful took inside EA. Hopefully it will also force IT to deliver in ways that their userbase requires.

What do you think? Post in the comments.


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