You can go home again: Moving into the cloud will centralize computing resources

Listen to the whole interview:


He’s written over 60 journal articles on many topics having to do with management, and is currently an Associate Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.

And now, David C. Wyld is talking about cloud computing.

His new report, Moving to the Cloud: An Introduction to Cloud Computing in Government, details why you should be paying attention to what’s going on in the world of cloud computing, even if your enterprise isn’t ready to make the move yet.

Fed Cloud Blog began by asking Wyld about one of the lists contained in the report: steps government leaders can take, which includes doing a ‘cloud roll out strategy’.

“We’re basically at step one out of six steps in most of the federal government and across most state and local governments and international governments, which is what the report found. There are demonstration projects — there are pilot projects underway. The introduction of Apps.gov at the federal level is certainly a good step, but it’s step one of integrating cloud computing.”

Eventually, organizations and agencies are going to discover where cloud fits overall, which will become part of any organization’s overall IT strategy.

“The challenge at that point is managing the integration and also gaining buy-in from the rank and file, not just the IT staff, but from the rank and file workforce in terms of integrating this into how they get things done in the organization.”

After that, the cloud could affect anyone.

The report makes predictions, one of them being that the democratization of technology will impact the quality of individuals and their online lives.

“It’s not the second coming, but, let me talk about what is meant by the democratization of technology, and we see this today, in that computing resources are available to us all in terms of — if we’re a researcher and we need extra computing resources, we simply tap into Amazon’s cloud and add the capacity we need. We have information more available at our fingertips today than ever before in human history. There’s a very optimistic school of thought that I concur with that this is going to change the way we do things. You’re going to be able to see more innovation.”

From a private sector standpoint, this innovation will happen if proper resources and money are dedicated to IT technology. Wyld says the ‘add-as-you-go’ mentality will be essential.

“As part of developing a company strategy, you’re not going to be deciding how many resources you need, because I can simply add that or subtract that as conditions warrant. So, it really will lessen the cost of innovation, because you’re not having to dedicate as many investment dollars toward IT as you have in the past. Again, you’re not having to plan IT strategy based on your highest utilization — I have to have X number of servers to handle traffic on 10 peak days during the year. I can base it on average utilization and then just add capacity as needed.”

If anything, the message out of this report should be seen in a positive light, especially for IT executives. Wyld says this is because it will change the way computing is procured and used, which is part of the bigger trend toward computing being a massive utility.

“It is a real transformation away from having fixed, static computing resources to having computing that’s available as a utility and on-demand, [from which] we draw the resources we need — and pay for the resources we need.”

Overall, Wyld says this transformation is a real challenge to the last massive change that occurred in the early 1980’s, when Microsoft launched Windows and made the desktop the be-all, end-all of computing.

“It’s a real challenge to, you know, the Microsoft model, in terms of having a great deal of computing power on the desktop. Other writers have analyzed that, you know, in many ways we’re centralizing computing resources and there’s some danger in that certainly. But, at the same time, that centralization is enabling us, just as we use our smart phones for computing tasks, instead of using a laptop or a PC today, all this enables a much more mobile, much quicker public sector and private sector workforce.”

Ultimately, though they say you can’t go home again, Wyld notes that’s not exactly true.

“It’s almost a pre-Internet model, because you’re centralizing computing resources, but at the same time, if we think about that . . . IT will be less involved with handling upgrades because all the upgrades on software will be done centralized. What you see on your desktop or your laptop or your iPhone, will be that finished product. You don’t have to go through all the upgrade processes that are part of our lives today.”

Listen for more from Wyld later this week on the Daily Debrief on Federal News Radio.

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