What´S a Cloud Consultant? Do You Need Them to Migrate Your Business Into the Cloud?

What´S a Cloud Consultant? Do You Need Them to Migrate Your Business Into the Cloud?

by Christophe Primault
Published on 20 December 2011

We talk regularly in this blog about the benefits of migrating business applications and processes into the cloud. We are strong believers that small businesses should be leveraging the power of online business software to boost productivity and business agility, but sometimes we may not put enough attention into the human (brain) power needed to effectively manage this transition.

So, what is a cloud consultant and why do you need them to migrate a business into the cloud?

We asked our friends at VM Associates, a leading cloud migration consulting firm, to help us answer this question:

Q: What's a cloud consultant?

Answer from VM-Associates:

We trashed "traditional" IT - it's too support-oriented and doesn't deliver the client-side innovation that online software and cloud computing demand. Businesses need more from IT and IT technicians and consultants aren't delivering.

Well, who can? Where is this "new" IT guy? What does he or she call themselves? What are they?

This is a problem we deal with at VM-Associates all the time. We're IT consultants, sure - but then again, we're not. We're also not the only ones thinking about this: Dennis Stevenson calls himself a "change agent," a term appropriated from Seth Godin, marketer extraordinaire and self-proclaimed "Agent of Change."

We like Change Agent, but it's not sector specific and doesn't capture the whole picture. We're trying out "Value Migration Architect" but it's only half-good. "Value Migration" captures the movement of business processes, but "Architect" ineptly evokes buildings, bridges, buttresses… it's immobile, unchanging.

The world is at a digital tipping point where everyone, business included, is spending more time in the cloud. Dealing with that tipping point isn't about construction and design, but about navigation and transitions. It's about foresight, vision and the anticipation of a new technological era. It's about minor corrections and major swerves. It's about knowing that your sales rep could probably do 99% of their job from a smartphone but isn't.

These days, Cloud consultants should be migrating business value, not building applications - leave that for the product vendors. Compasses, GPS, steering wheels - these are the metaphorical tools we need. Cloud consultants should blaze trails, build outposts and bridges. They connect generations, cultures, histories and ideas. It's grand stuff. They are vanguards for the future of business solutions.

Q: What being a "vanguard of business solutions" means?

Answer from VM-Associates:

As 'vanguards' cloud consultants replace the traditional IT consultant, their role is to squeeze as much value out of technology as possible. Vanguards must make informed decisions about emerging technology and develop strong relationships with innovative and responsible software vendors. Cloud consultants are buyer advocates, freelance CIOs, and are generally grumpy about poor user interfaces and retro-thinking. They always start from the perspective of the business owner, and they genuinely care about the end-user (you know, those people who use the software?).

Q: What is different from traditional IT consulting ?

Answer from VM-Associates:

Throw out the "systems solution consulting" proposal you just received , your company doesn't need it. If you're a business owner or manager, insist that IT reinvigorate legacy solutions, and insist that users reevaluate legacy processes. Business should leverage 'today', not yesterday. Tomorrow demands it.

Contact us if you need advice on migrating processes and software to the cloud

This post has been written in collaboration with VM-Associates