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I had some conversations about IT's relationship with the growing concept of cloud computing and it's interesting to hear the vision that many people have of IT's evolving role. For too many years IT professionals have been treated like simple drones, or behind-the-scenes computer nerds who simply execute decisions made by other, more visionary people in the organization.

This patronizing view of IT staff has to change for business to get the maximum IT services value. It's very easy to internalize that kind of behavior and adopt the role of the last-generation IT guy – the guy who selfishly guards his turf, wants little interaction with the business people in the organization, and who is always in reactive mode fighting fires.

The new generation of IT delivery is a lot more meaningful, and technology advancements such as cloud computing is a primary reason why. IT professionals now play a much more strategic role in developing and executing on business decisions – and according to Troy Miuse, the CEO of Salesboom, can do so faster and with less risk.

Miuse understands that IT staff, contrary to some people's opinion, are very creative – "they're artists," he insists. Miuse comes by that view from personal experience, having gone from civil engineering to programming because of the creativity it offers and the personal gratification a well-delivered project can bring.

Initially, cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) were framed in terms of reduced costs. "That was big mistake for the cloud industry," says Miuse, because lowering costs suggests lowering head count. "That made IT staff enemies of cloud computing because it was seen as something to replace them." Today, however, the capabilities cloud computing have won IT over, because the technology allows them to deliver business software solutions that make the business people more efficient. "Your company doesn't grow by getting rid of IT people – it grows by increasing top-line revenues," he noted.

IT staff have a more direct impact now in the cloud computing era because so many of the operational burdens have been removed – back-up and business continuity, server maintenance, software upgrades and so on – and because software customizations can be built and pushed out more quickly than ever before. When you can get a software pilot out in two weeks instead of six months, it's a lot easier to implement and evolve the business ideas people in your company have and it makes IT staff look like heros for being able to execute upon them.

Many CRM software buying decisions are still IT driven purchase decisions, which is a mistake. But IT's strategic role in helping to choose, modify and implement new ways of doing business is growing, and it will bring new, creative minds to the process and a stronger working relationship with the business users.


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