Dealing with Uncertainty – In the Cloud

May 19, 2011 by Jon Corwin

Dealing with UncertaintyThere is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the nation’s economic climate. That uncertainty is placing pressure on organizations to limit costs and investments until demand is reestablished. Companies had to improve operations management and agility. Learning to live with unknowns, handling uncertainty, and pivoting on-demand became a valued skill. Cloud computing has become more attractive because it provides the ability to manage unknowns, act quickly, and change your mind later if your IT needs change. provided a thorough story on how Lehman Brothers, which later spun into LAMCO, used the cloud to manage a major spin-down of their assets in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. Here’s just a short snippet:

James Johnson, an IT veteran with 25 years’ experience running Wall Street technology operations, walked into Lehman Brothers’ packing-box-strewn office high in the Time-Life building in Rockefeller Center. It was November 2008. Johnson had just been named Lehman’s CTO and had been given the job of operating the IT infrastructure needed to wind down the firm.

Just two months earlier, Lehman helped set off a worldwide financial panic by filing the largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. history. By the time Johnson found himself picking his way around the cardboard boxes, most of Lehman’s brokerage and money-management operations had already been sold to international banks at fire-sale prices. But Lehman still owned over $600 billion worth of global assets, including real estate, those infamous mortgage-backed securities, derivatives and other hard-to-value items. The professional services and restructuring firm Alvarez and Marsal won the contract to wind down operations and turn those assets into as much cash as possible for Lehman’s creditors.