I see a shift happening in IT management...
Today, companies are beginning to put a lot of effort and energy into the technical management of clouds. They’re trying to compare solutions, simplify the on- and off-boarding process, improve their reporting, and make sure the right alerts are going out. (Sound like your company?)
But while this focus on the technical side of things is fairly new, it’s just the first piece in the cloud-management puzzle. I see a bigger future in store for cloud management—instead of focusing on the technology, it will be focused on the user experience.
The Future Of Cloud Management
The future of cloud management is going to be much more centered around cloud services. You will create a portfolio of services bespoke to your business, which will be completely aligned with your business goals. These services will become intrinsic—built into the way you do things on a daily basis.
With today’s cloud applications, you have to specifically seek out a platform, open it, log in, and tell it what you want it to do before you can actually use it. In the future, it will be a more streamlined experience.
A simple analogy is to compare this with iTunes. When you start using iTunes on your phone, you don’t feel like you’re using a massive music aggregation platform—it just does what you want it to do without much effort required.
The same goes for photo or video management tools. Ideally, it doesn’t feel like you’re using the tool, even though it’s doing some fairly sophisticated aggregation behind the scenes.
In the future, your cloud management tools will become part of your day-to-day activities, without you seeing or realizing that they’re working. You will be able to use tools from different vendors (multi-cloud) without even thinking about the fact that you’re switching from vendor to vendor.
Just like iTunes allows you to seamlessly toggle from jazz, to pop, to classical music, you’ll be able to seamlessly move from cloud management tool to cloud management tool, without giving it a second thought. Data may even be integrated between tools, allowing you to update information in one tool and immediately see the results in another.
Cloud management will be seamless—not focused on the specific technology like it is today, but centered around a simple, flawless user experience.
How Will We Get There?
Businesses are already starting to go through iterations of this transition. You can see it in cloud application stores, or more specifically, business-to-business app stores. They are starting to curate a number of different services for various business cases, although in a fairly unsophisticated way (at this point). This change will continue to happen over a period of time as development moves on.
Think about Facebook—not so long ago, it was launched as a simple communication tool. Now, it’s an application platform, messaging tool, advertising instrument, photo store, and video cache. It didn’t change overnight, but slowly developed as needs evolved and technology got smarter. The same will happen with cloud management. As functionality is built into these tools, the improvement process will continue.
What Should You Do About It Now?
Even though this future may seem far away, you can actually do something about it now— you can begin to change the way you think about it. Rather than thinking about management for your company in the short-term, begin thinking long-term. If you’re stuck in a short-term strategy, it’s easy to impulsively download and use a new application whenever you find it, but that can lead to shadow IT or a multi-cloud mess.
If you stand back and think about where you want to be in five or 10 years, you’ll have greater control of your cloud. Ask yourself:
- What things are going to be important to us in the future?
- How are we going to manage things?
- What size will our organization be?
- What tools will we need?
- What partners will be best for us?
Based on the way you answer these questions, you’ll know where your company is headed and where your cloud management strategy should be.