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Careers and the cloud

Careers and the cloud

Careers and the cloud

Now I'm no newbie so it feels a bit odd to be asking this like a grad but in light of http://redmondmag.com/features/article.asp?editorialsid=2606
I'm getting a bit worried about my MS skillbase.  

Our TAM currently takes any opportunity to beat up the internal guys and push MS hosted services.  So my skillset in AD, Exchange, Sharepoint, SCOM and SCCM suddenly isn't looking so useful down the track.

I'm sure that MS will need to leave the partners a play on this otherwise they'll run off to the competitors but all my reading so far suggests that will be much more development than infrastructure focussed.

Now this MS cloud push will take a couple of years to ramp up but then it will also take a couple of years to transition off the tools.

I've already done 2 uni papers in business analysis this year, have an associate degree in business and am project managing a SCOM/SCCM project for my current large employer right from business case to operations.  

But my position is still in an operational unit and our org is very political and siloed so internal ops are likely to be limited.

Ideally I'd like to move to pure business side PM or BA on application projects preferably web-based with plenty of integration/web services as I think this would leave me well placed for the new cloud environment.

It's going to be a slow year for IT and in my country they build a big ditch between the tech and business sides.

I'm wondering if I target the vendors and take a pay cut to get the experience?

I think I'm too experienced already for NGO/volunteer work to play well.

I've tried doing policy documents for our EA group but that work was basically stolen and got me nowhere.

I've also tried volunteer BA work for MA.com working under Perry Mcleod but the sponser wanted to speed things up so after supplying 4 docs with positive feedback the whole thing got inhoused.

Now none of this is complaining - thats just how IT is but I wanted to give the full picture as I need considered advice.  

I think this is going to be an issue for a large number of techs so happy for this to be a free ranging discussion.  Thanks.


RE: Careers and the cloud

Please can you write in internationally understandable English? Every time I start to understand a part of a sentence there is a TLA or ETLA that stops me.

So please provide the full phrases or explain what your TLAs (Three Letter Abbreviation) or ETLAs (Extended Three Letter Abbreviation) mean.

By the way, cloud computing was already possible long before M$ (Microsoft) started to meddle with it. And it did not become very popular. There are a few reasons why this is the case:

Cloud computing should be cheap, otherwise people don't try it. This is not much of a problem. It mainly boils down to scale.

Cloud computing should be secure. Now THAT is a major problem. Do you trust any unknown hosting provider with your data? How is your data accessible? Is it backed up? Is that backup checked? How much trouble does it take to restore it? How much trouble would it take your competitor to restore YOUR data?

Clients should be in control. This is a major problem. Your hosting provider does the software updates and decides what will be working and what not. There is no chance of keeping that old PC with Windows 98 because that one financial program needs it. Also, in the case of in internet outage, your whole company will be cut off from work. Think about the costs of that.

Hosting providers do not want to give much support (to keep it cheap), but do get all the support questions now. This is a direct conflict of interests.

There was already a hype of cloud computing in the early 90s of the last century (gee, I'm getting old). Hardware manufacturers started selling "light" desktop PCs for doing all the work on-line. The only place I saw those machines was at dump stores. Where nobody wanted them either.

So if TAM means anything like your boss, I'd be looking for a way to leave the sinking ship or to try to talk some sense into him.

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Careers and the cloud

Thanks for the reply Don

Sorry about the TLAs - you got me on the ETLA

TAM = Technical Account Manager (Microsoft)
NGO = non government organisation (i.e. not for profit)
BA = business analyst
PM = project manager

Yes but that's just the push.  What I'm hoping for is advice on how to transition to the business side from people who've made the jump, employ such people or know people who've done it, i.e. good market segments to target, certs that might help etc.

RE: Careers and the cloud

Well, if you have followed the DNS cache poisoning attacks of last year, I can only remark that uploading your data to the "cloud" is an internet crook's dream come true. So if you want to go the cloud way, I'd say internet security would be one of my first skills to master. Security is what most internal systems lack, just because the internal environment of a company is surrounded by a safe firewall or at least thought to be. Unfortunately, security does not "sell". Oh, you can sell some security applications, but real security is implemented from the ground up and is part of every design. Security is not an add-on, whatever vendors may tell you.

But off course my first concern as a business analyst or consultant would be money. In this time where there are a lot of good open source alternatives to expensive Microsoft services, does it pay to get even less control over your IT resources?

The only "cloud experience" I have is having built web applications that run the main business tools of our clients. Those applications and their data are company-critical and way too sensitive to give out of hand. So they all run on the client's own machines, often in well-secured data centres. In fact, running such applications on the internet has had major impact on the design of those applications, especially the (de-)coupling between the office and the off-site server, as both must continue to function in case of an internet outage somewhere between them. As there are even known cases of digital attacks amongst competitors in their field, security is to be taken really seriously. All this calls more for in-house approach or at least monitoring from companies where you are not problem number 257918 and facing up towards 3 lines of support before someone wakes up in case something serious happens.

Especially in my country, large internet firms (such as providers) have really horrible support (wait for 1.5 hour on the phone before you finally get to speak somebody who has the nerve to tell you that the one you should speak to has his day off, and we are paid by the hour).

So if you could do anything to make support better, there would also be a bare field open for you. At least here.

Good luck!

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Careers and the cloud

Honestly, I'm not that concerned about the cloud.  Not every application or infrastructure piece translates well to outsourced functionality (like the cloud).  We discovered this in the late 1990's and early 2000's when Application Service Providers (ASPs) were all the rage.  While the "cloud" notion is not exactly the same thing, it's similar enough that you can draw parallels.  The big difference between now and then is that then you would buy access to a hosted application, while now days they're talking about writing applications that use purchased access to resources.  I have no doubt that there will be some successes with "cloud-based computing" in some corners of the market, but I just don't see it being something that gains widespread adoption.  One of the biggest lessons of the ASP era is that companies don't usually just hand over business critical functionality to outsourced providers.  There might be some adoption in niche areas, but core functionality is going to remain local/internal.

CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Careers and the cloud

Security is a huge issue these days with hackers and ID thefts more prominent every year. I'm not sure I could feel confident enough in a centralized setup where a hacker could gain access to multiple companies data at one time. Being separated and "hiding in the open" adds to your security (granted not much, but they do have to 'find' you first). There's too many eggs in one basket that would make these clouds too tempting of targets.

kmcferrin is right. Not many companies are going to just hand over their data to an outside party. Smaller companies just aren't going to have the budgets for it. You'll have some that convert over to it, but I see that more as part of a DR (Disaster Recovery) plan than anything.

Clouds will have their place, but I wouldn't worry about it till the "Grid" comes on line. (And they've been promoting that since the mid-90's.)

Just my take on it.

"...and did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!"

"Don't stop him. He's roll'n."

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