Your IT department’s Kodak moment is now, but it is not the kind of a moment where you get to take a cute picture and save it forever.
George Eastman founded Kodak in 1888. The company was dominant during most of 20th century in the market for photographic film. Even though they invented the first digital camera in 1975 they dismissed the idea of digital photography. As a dominant player in the industry they did not want to introduce anything that would threaten their near-monopoly on film products. While consumer electronics companies with no vested interest in film introduced amazing digital cameras, Kodak fell into a pattern of steep decline in the late 1990s and in 2007 had to file for bankruptcy.
Today’s enterprise IT market is monopolized by on-premise data centers. It is dominated by big vendors that have vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They would all love to tell you that they have some sort of a magic solution that brings the cloud to you. Complacent enterprise IT departments are more than willing to listen – after all, IT view themselves as gatekeepers to technology adoption in their companies.
The reality is that they will never keep up. The cloud brought the barriers to entry to near zero. While it used to be that it would take months or years and millions of dollars for a company to scale out their on-premise IT, now the same takes hours or days and zero upfront costs to scale out a data center. Companies that adopt cloud services will find themselves delivering applications, tools, and products to their customers much faster and at a lower cost. Companies that continue to look for excuses not to will find themselves outcompeted by peers that do not.
This is not limited to software technology companies, although they will feel the impact first. IT departments at companies to whom software is more of a tool than a product are at danger of rendering themselves obsolete by resisting cloud adoption. For a business unit to build and deploy an application IT is no longer required — all they need is a budget and an internet connection. IT departments, therefore, could make themselves more useful by facilitating API and data integration with cloud applications rather than standing in the way of progress.