"2011 was a turning point in the computer industry because it was the first year where it quit being primarily about computers."
That's the view of Mike Maples, founder and managing partner of Floodgate Fund, in a recent interview with VentureBeat's Dylan Tweney. Like it or not, he says, cloud is coming into enterprises, and it's up to IT to embrace it and provide leadership, whether a company goes 100% in the public cloud, remains 100% with on-premises private cloud, or ends up somewhere in between. In Maples' view, most companies are opting for the in-between -- hybrid cloud -- and that's where IT's future lies as well.
"Clouds will continue to proliferate into corporate departments as software eats the world," he observes, noting that computers are "going to fade into the background in terms of mobile devices and an Internet of things."
While it should be noted that there are still computers and data centers behind every cloud, IT managers and professionals need to be out in front of the coming shift. IT departments will soon have an entirely different purpose than they had in 2005. IT has been responsible for coding, integrating, patching and upgrading, along with buying, provisioing and maintaining servers -- and that role will go on for some time to come.
Now, in addition, IT is taking in the role of counsel to the business, helping to identify and procure the right technology resources for the tasks at hand. Those resources may come from a company's own data center, or they may come from outside. As Maples put it: "The ultimate goal is to say: Whatever files or information you have an entitlement to, the goal should be to allow you to access it and not care where it is."