FRAMINGHAM, 7 FEBRUARY 2011 - Dave DiMeo, service delivery network operations manager at Ford Motor (F) has a mouthful of a title. And while the word "cloud" isn't part of it, it might as well be.
The service delivery network, what DiMeo calls a cloud, provides a way for Ford to mesh data from external vendors and information stored within the enterprise for delivery in real time to users of Sync, an in-vehicle communications and entertainment system. For DiMeo, the cloud model has opened new career opportunities."Dave is a good example of a guy on the cusp. Originally an IT guy, he's now a part of the team delivering services [from the cloud] to the product delivery community for Sync," says Jim Buczkowski, Henry Ford technical fellow and director of electrical and electronic systems research & advanced engineering at Ford.
This alignment between IT and product delivery represents a significant step forward for Ford, he says.
"Traditionally, not much in the IT organization supported the product, meaning something built in or a part of the vehicle that customers really see and use. This has changed dramatically. Now IT and the product are very well connected because we're using capabilities built into the vehicle to access systems and data in the IT domain to allow us to connect to the cloud, assure the security and protection of information, and provide the uptime and quality of service needed to deliver the information to the vehicle on a real-time basis," Buczkowski says.
Moving away from the pure IT work on enterprise applications to delivering services for a consumer product has been "tremendously rewarding," DiMeo says.
Although perhaps not in such dramatic fashion, the rise of cloud computing in the enterprise is affording many IT professionals the opportunity to recast their organizational roles. Of course, becoming an enterprise cloud guru starts with an understanding of technologies like virtualization, server consolidation and flat networks, but also involves learning new technology and business skills.
"The day of focusing only on things in the enterprise are coming to an end, and IT professionals need to have skills to leverage systems that they don't own and that are outside the enterprise's control," says David Linthicum, CTO at Blue Mountain Labs, a cloud consulting firm, and cloud computing blogger at InfoWorld, a Network World sister publication.
"They need to understand how platforms are changing, how to get access to storage and compute on demand and how to leverage infrastructure and platform as a service where needs dictate those," he adds. And this goes for executives as well as staff.
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