Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer believes the cloud is going to change the way IT professionals work – like it or not.
Ballmer addressed IT professionals this week in a fireside chat session in the U.K. during Microsoft’s three-day Tech Days Online event.
“New skills will add more value to businesses and the world economy rather than putting together OS stacks,” said Ballmer. With application deployment in the data center and the ability for IT pros to tailor their jobs and solve enterprise problems, he thinks IT professionals can add more value to a company as technology helps transform the way businesses work.
But when you talk to the IT pros, they may be a little bit more skeptical about Ballmer’s view on how the cloud will change their job description.
The data is just being stored virtually in the cloud, said Mike Drips, an IT consultant based in Houston. “How will it make people think more strategically?” he wondered.
Ballmer believes the cloud can impact jobs like software development, too. He wants those developers to think 10 years into the future and write applications that run on top of Microsoft’s Azure.
Perhaps Ballmer shouldn’t think about how the cloud will evolve IT’s role but rather how IT can be a leading proponent toward putting into place the ability for changing a worker’s life style with mobile technology. It’s not just about taking a notebook and accessing a file to work from at home. It’s about being able to do work anytime, anywhere on any device. It’s about how to incorporate mobile technology into an enterprise and the cloud just becomes an enabler.
In this respect, IT can now play a strategic role in studying the way end users work and how their work behavior has changed over time. Ballmer even said as much during the chat, noting that IT can focus more on a solving an enterprise’s workflow and application needs to provide more value to the company.
As Ballmer makes his rounds on his way out as the retiring CEO, he offered three lessons for IT pros– ideas matter, passion matters, and remain tenacious.
“You need to remake yourself and this is what people need to do,” he said.
It’s sound advice for someone who will need to find his next role after running a $78 billion company.