While chatting with a group of IT folks last week, I asked them their opinion on what the biggest trigger was to make changes in the datacenter. Unsurprisingly, their first answer was the very PC "changes in the way we do business" response. As was their reason for this response; money.
To a man they agreed that it was just easier to get funding for a new project when it was being driven by a business unit within their various companies. That would be why many of them had gotten very aggressive about getting the business units involved early in the IT process.
While there are still upgrades cycles in place; that is, schedule equipment upgrades budgeted for well in advance, the changing technology landscape, especially with the rising public awareness of technologies that have the word "cloud" in their name, there is a lot of push to investigate these technologic changes coming from the business side of the house.
On one hand, it's a good thing to see business units provide active attention to technology that can improve their processes. On the other hand there is a tendency for non-IT people to actually believe everything they read about products, even when the information is just coming directly from vendor sales teams. This isn't a new trend, it's just that now that services are available via the cloud that can be apparently implemented with little or no IT involvement to get them up and running, some of these IT people have commented that they have more significant concerns about securing corporate data than they have had in the past.
As an example of this problem, albeit on a small scale, one of the IT folks related a story about how a middle manager in their sales group had simply decided that since he liked a commercial online backup product that one of his children had introduced him to so much that he decided that the 50 or outside sales folks in his department should use it. It wasn't a problem until IT decided to push out an upgrade to their asset management software, which ran an agent on every client, and the new agent conflicted with the backup automation agent. A problem that wasn't discovered until a number of systems had crashed, were discovered not to have been backed up to the corporate enterprise backup system, and were unrestorable by IT. The IT compliance officer was also not too thrilled to find out that corporate data was being stored offsite without anyone's knowledge.
Clearly this was a problem that could have been easily solved, had IIT been in the loop in the backup service choice, but they weren't and, according to the IT guy relating this story, the manager still doesn't understand why they should have been.
As always, communications is the key, but in the case of easily accessible computing technologies, control and security is going to be the biggest problem.