We attend a number of industry events each year and pay attention to what attendees are telling us. As its name connotes, IT Roadmap is largely attended by local IT professionals looking to stay abreast of new technologies and practices in the industry. Of course, cloud computing is a key topic and a number of presentations addressed various aspects of cloud computing.

Two observations:

First, IT is still largely in a ‘wait and see mode’ with respect to cloud computing and exploiting cloud’s capabilities. For a variety of reasons, IT hasn’t wholeheartedly embraced public cloud computing in terms of actual adoption. These reasons may be based on security and compliance concerns, application sensitivity concerns, workload (other priorities) concerns, and suitability concerns. It is clear that there is quite a bit of variance between the state of IT in the different companies we heard from and from the timelines these IT organizations expect to deploy cloud solutions more broadly.

In a sense, it appeared that IT is currently absorbed in its own redefinition–to become more meaningful in the eyes of the business– and came looking for information and guidance on how it can continue to evolve. In that respect, the IT professionals didn’t come looking for cloud computing specifically but for perhaps, to learn from their colleagues about how others might be solving similar challenges.

Second, it seemed that even some of the cloud vendors were grappling with where to take the audience with respect to cloud computing. How much did the audience need to be educated? How much emphasis should be placed on public cloud discussion? Was the audience ready for what the presenter was talking to? Did the audience believe their value proposition for cloud computing? Did the material really relate to the real challenges IT in its departments over the next two years?

Summary

Overall, it’s critical from the standpoint of the solution provider to reflect on the state of IT today. In many respects, the way forward for IT and vendors alike at the moment is to agree that that path forward will be more collaborative and evolutionary. This, of course, is difficult for many providers given that adoption of “exciting” new technologies is often in a vacuum from the risk and compliance policies that IT works by.

Providers must provide a broad range of solutions and bring a level of expertise that matches up to what IT really needs right now. We have to remind ourselves that IT needs our help and that the best solution may very well not be the most cutting-edge one. And we can’t place so much emphasis on a single technology to solve IT’s challenges when those challenges cover such a wide spectrum of resource, cost and operational elements. We have to be amenable as much as flexible – IT professionals genuinely need our help.