Leading Technology Trends, Today and Tomorrow – Cloud Computing and the PM/BA Windfall
The rise of cloud computing as a cost effective, secure, flexible and straightforward way to implement new software applications has had a profound effect on the computer industry and IT organizations.
It has change the way software is created, marketed, sold, implemented and supported. It has also accelerated the replacement of legacy systems, enhanced organizational computer power and has increased the viability of shadow IT related projects.
From a Project Manager (PM) and Business Analyst (BA) perspective, cloud computing has:
- Increased the percentage of PMs and BAs within IT organizations, relative to the number of programmers, testers and other technical professionals
- Increased the number of projects, relative to the size of the IT organization, all of which need BAs and PMs, but not necessarily programmers and other technical staff
- Enhanced BA visibly to senior management within both IT and the business community, because they are the ones configuring cloud-based features, rather than having programmers create new functionality contained within in-house developed applications.
- Increased demand for both PMs and BAs within Marketing and other non-IT areas, caused by increased user-driven cloud implementation. This is often referred to as “Shadow IT”.
As many of you may know, cloud computing is generally divided into three categories, each of which has a different effect on the PM and BA professions.
Mentally, I like to think of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS as “Buy and use it”, “Rent and develop on it”, “Rent, manage develop on it”.
For those of you who like working with data, Cloud Computing is a mixed blessing. On the down-size, if your company has deployed a number of SaaS type systems, it fractures your company’s data model because large portions of your production data is being stored and controlled outside your firewall and your reach. The up-side of this from a PM/BA perspective is that this loss of control is magnifying the importance of internal data warehouses, needed for internal reporting, analysis and cross-system integration. If you love data, you’ll like these types of projects. Interestingly, because of this issue with data and the want for platforms in the cloud, Database as a service (DBaaS) provides data warehouse type capabilities, providing collection, storage, reporting and analytical type functionality.
If data is not your thing, but you love cybersecurity related projects, there is also Security as a service (SECaaS), which provides a combination of security management, monitoring, reporting and other related functions.
Now let’s talk about all PMs, not just PMs working on computer related projects. You thought I forgot about you, didn’t you ????
Cloud computing is a great thing for PMs of all types, not just those in IT, because of the wide variety to tools you have at your fingertips to help you with your project management and portfolio management activities at little or no cost. Classically, PMs (and BAs) only could justify the purchase of one or two tools to help them manage their projects and perform their tasks. Now, given the number of cloud-based, low-cost or open-source options, your variety of job-aids is almost endless.
In closing, as a PM or BA, cloud computing is here to stay and continuing to widen its reach, functionality, and importance to businesses of all shapes and sizes. It is also an enabling platform for everything from machine learning, to big data to the internet of things. Embracing cloud technologies has the ability to enhance your career and increase your professional marketability.