How Chipita is forging the path to the cloud for other companies.

The benefits that come from a company moving their IT needs to the cloud seems like a no-brainer. At least, that’s how Chipita America’s CIO Scott Martin saw it. Chipita’s product lines include Old London Foods, Melba Toast, and bagel and pita chips, which are sold by large (like Wal-Mart) and small national retailers. Six years ago, Martin moved Chipita’s email severs to the cloud, and today, nearly every IT infrastructure Chipita uses is working in the cloud. In a recent Computerworld interview, Martin recounts that he saw what many IT professionals and cloud adopters see: no advantage to keeping IT services in-house when they can be moved and managed elsewhere. Time that used to get sucked into managing servers on-site is now dedicated to Chipita’s business needs, and Martin thinks that’s how it should be for all companies.

One common fear of IT professionals is that moving to the cloud will put them out of a job. The primary problem that these few-and-far-between IT workers face is out-of-touch company officers that don’t see the real work that goes into working with cloud server vendors. Also, Martin points out that maintaining costly servers just to justify a CIO’s existence in a company is irrational, and not in the best interest of the company.

Cloud market analyst James Staten reports that Chipita’s IT structure is actually very forward-thinking, compared to most mid-sized corporations. The term coined for cloud resisters? Server huggers. The most interesting part of Staten’s research into these server huggers is their reason for resisting. One hackneyed attempt server huggers have tried to use to shoot holes in the cloud is calling the security of the cloud into question. But Staten found that server huggers aren’t even taking that approach anymore; their reason for sticking with their in-house systems are strictly to keep themselves employed, and nothing else.

Psychologist Michael Barr explains that even the server huggers that believe they’ll keep their jobs believe that after a move to the cloud, they’ll be viewed differently in the company. Before, they were in charge of important systems, which gave them an opportunity to be promoted. Barr sees the rising concern among IT professionals that if they “only manage vendors” after a move to the cloud, they will no longer be viewed as promotion-worthy employees. Cloud resisters believe that the authority, direction, and responsibility that is required to work with cloud-service vendors is less visible than the work they would be doing on systems in the office.

So how does Scott Martin assuage server huggers’ fears? In his own experience, he says he doesn’t think he’s lost control of anything, and in fact, feels as though he has better control and protection of his systems. Many cloud providers know that the first area of the cloud doubters try to attack is the security, and therefore make their cloud servers more secure than ever before. Martin believes that Chipita’s particular provider has better security in place than he could have managed had the servers been more physically under his control.

One big benefit Martin enjoys by having Chipita’s servers in the cloud is the scalability. It’s no longer a large production to try and get more virtual servers when Chipita needs the extra help. And his job security? Martin spends a lot of time continually reviewing his relationships with current vendors and possible new vendors, to make sure he’s getting Chipita the biggest bang for their buck. He’s confident that keeps him employed, as does the fact that he moved boldly six years ago to do something he believed was in the best interest of the company.