All of the discussions I hear related to cloud are focused on technology. IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the most used ones that describe the cloud world as it relates to getting infrastructure, platforms, or applications from some set of providers. Many of the ‘requirements’ to be a cloud service are related to being a shared service, burstable, flexible, and with no capital outlay. The basic premise is that you leverage these technologies so that you can avoid buying products and instead, lease them. Have you ever thought about the fact that you have been doing this with your people services for some time now?

The People Cloud is a strategy that all IT shops leverage and have for many years. It is core to any IT department to be able to burst as needed without always carrying the entire staffing load as a fixed cost. Projects are a great example of a need to burst up and then back down. Let’s break down one of the obvious technology cloud offerings and see if you can see how the people cloud matters on those decisions.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
At this point in time, everyone gets what this particular offering is designed to accomplish. The basic idea is that you can get services from a varied group of offerings in order to get out of the hardware procurement business. It is just that simple, right? No.

Let’s talk about the offerings out there today:

    • Public Cloud “Warehouses”
    • Data Center Providers
    • Managed Service Providers

The Public Cloud “Warehouse”
These are the big players out there. The services are highly scalable and burstable, with a coin operated mentality. But, how will you manage that cloud? What resources will you need to be able to migrate to that platform and then manage it both in terms of operations, engineering, and financial? These clouds can require the most from your people cloud.

Data Center and Infrastructure Providers
These are the cloud providers that are born from the data center co-location world. Now, these organizations tend to have built up several things like a network operations center, monitoring/alerting, triage, etc. They will also have some level of managed services at least up to some level of the stack. In these cases, your people cloud might be that you are using them for everything up to some level and then your own folks further up the technology stack, like applications and integration. Either way, remember that you will have to manage multiple groups and vendors so that is something to keep in mind as a part of your people cloud.

Managed Services Providers and Resellers
This group of firms is the most equipped to go further into your people cloud. They are typically designed in a way to be able to help with staff augmentation as needed as well as some longer term operational needs. All of them are not created equally and you need to do your homework in terms of what they are able to offer you in the cloud space. Some of these firms work with the firms mentioned in the DC and Infrastructure space to provide a service in IaaS. Others have their own IaaS designs that they manage themselves. All of this can mean different things as it relates to compliance and regulatory areas as the people cloud for those firms are part of that equation. Either way, if you work with these firms it might be more pervasive in your people cloud so it has a lot of flexibility.

Ultimately, each firm has a different perspective on their people cloud. What is your like and where do you want it to be?


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