There is a lot being said about cloud computing these days and yes, it is darn confusing. Yet, many of us are already equipped with the decision-making experience that applies to cloud services: Look to how you manage your household as a model for managing your data center.
1) Outsource the Crap.
We all have low value activities that bring little or no personal gain, but are facts of life in managing the household. I hate to mow the lawn. Yet I want a decent yard. So I outsource it to someone who actually does a better job and is more regular. If he messes up, I yell at him, so I maintain control. Like cloud computing, it is a pain to change IT providers (but not impossible), so I have to keep him honest, and he gets my business back year after year. My other benefit? I didn’t expend capital for a tractor and I have 3 extra hours a week to make money at my home business.
2) Understand the risk/reward based on the value of the asset.
OK, in the grand scheme of things my lawn is not really that important. I’m going to think differently about my lawn service versus who watches my children. Like cloud services, I’m going to think differently depending on whether I in-source or out-source that service. We have baby sitters in our homes at much younger ages than when we outsource them to someone else’s house for the first time.
3) Consider the impact on internal customers.
Your household has internal “customers” just like your business. Consider how your outsourced decisions affect them too. My wife was guilty for hating laundry until she realized I preferred paying the dry cleaner because they iron better.
4) End the middle management problem.
Managers lament they are saddled with accountability for things they don’t have authority to control, like parents trying to control restless teenagers. Good managed services providers own accountability yet empower their customers through SLA’s with stricter levels of adherence than are found internally. If I could only outsource disciplining my teenager for a few years….oh wait, it’s called boarding school!
Chief Technology Officer