Study: Cloud computing becoming pervasive, and IT needs to take control now

Study: Cloud computing becoming pervasive, and IT needs to take control now

Summary: Business units' demand for speed and agility is leading them to circumvent IT and acquire cloud services, more than half of them from unmanaged clouds.


Cloud computing may be taking the business world by storm, but its success could mean a "perfect storm" that endangers the role of IT.

As a result, IT needs to step up now and change its approach to cloud services. This includes building trust with the lines of business, beginning to manage public cloud services, and pursuing increased automation for service provisioning and operations.

These are the key findings of a survey commissioned by BMC Software and conducted by Forrester Research. The study, "Delivering on High Cloud Expectations," shows that business units' demand for speed and agility is leading them to circumvent IT and acquire cloud services, more than half of them from what were termed "unmanaged" clouds.

Brian Singer, Lead Solutions Marketing Manager for BMC, said his company commissioned the survey in an effort to confirm what the company was hearing anecdotally from customers. "Cloud and software as a service (SaaS) are in enterprises in a big way," Singer said, "and we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them."

Cloud and SaaS are in enterprises in a big way and we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them.

For the study, researchers polled 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Among the key findings:

  • Today, 58 percent run mission critical workloads in unmanaged public clouds, regardless of policy. The researchers use "unmanaged" to describe clouds that are managed by the cloud operators, but not by the company buying the service.
  • In the next two years, 79 percent plan to run mission-critical workloads on unmanaged cloud services.
  • Nearly three out of four responders, 71 percent, thought that IT should be responsible for public cloud services.
  • Seventy two percent of CIOs believe that the business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

Wake-up call

"This is a wake-up call," Singer said. "They know that this is going on and they understand that cloud is a way to go around monolithic IT." According to the survey, 81 percent of respondents said that a comprehensive cloud strategy is a high priority for the next year.

While cost is a major driver in the C-suite, the lines of business respondents put cost way down on their list of priorities. Instead they are seeking higher availability, faster delivery of services, more agility, and options and flexibility.

The researchers suggested a three-prong approach for IT to get a handle on this:

  • Build trust with the users and create a better user experience -- have an honest conversation about needs of the business, incorporate business requirements into a cloud strategy, and demonstrate progress toward them.

    They know that this is going on and they understand that cloud is a way to go around monolithic IT.

  • Shift from unmanaged to managed public cloud services. Many cloud vendors allow IT operations to monitor and manage services. This will help mitigate the risk and complexity that unmanaged clouds now introduce.
  • Develop ways to provision and operate internal services so that users get experiences similar to those they get from outside. This requires more automation to rapidly deploy solutions.

The full study results will be announced April 26 at 11 a.m. CST as part of a BMC webinar, registration required.

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Topics: Cloud, CXO

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  • Off with his head!!!

    Saying IT needs to take control is like saying that King George needs to do something with those colonists. Computer sufferers of IT tyranny, throw off your chains! Revolt now, and gain the freedom to be productive those suit guys have been denying you in the name of uniformity! You want Apples share rise at your company, you have to think like Steve Jobs!!!
    Tony Burzio
    • As an IT pro, I feel more like a parent...

      As an IT pro, I feel more like a parent trying to keep a 3yo from running into traffic. While I know there are plenty of IT control freaks who just like to be jerks, the main issue I deal with is people wanting access to things because they either don't understand the details, or just "cuz it's cool". Most users don't think about security, federal regulations, resource allocation, etc. And they shouldn't have to. However, to "throw off the chains of IT" is to potentially open the company up to liabilities and unforeseen consequences that could cost time, money, and potentially, the life of the business.

      Tony, I hope you were being sarcastic... I don't wear a suit. ;)
      • I agree 100%

        be it a BYOD, "I want to load these programs", or "I live via my gmail or yahoo account", sorry but too much is at stake to allow users to have a "do as we please" attitude.
        William Farrel
      • Better balance needed

        You make a good point about the role of IT which is to think/worry about security, regulations and resources so that users shouldn't have to. However, the way you describe users as wanting access to something out of a lack of understanding or because it is cool doesn't acknowledge the reality that users have a deeper understanding of their business needs than IT does. The business converse of your perspective on IT would be that the role of business users is to think about access to information, customers and peers at any time and from any location so IT shouldn't have to. The truth falls in between with users needing to better appreciate their organization's security/regulation/resource needs and IT needing to better understand the business needs of the users whom IT is there to support.
        Mark Levitt
      • marklevitt

        Appreciate your balanced perspective, but with all due respect, IT develop and deploy the tools the business needs and requests. The users in business do not have the first clue how it works or how it is possible. The reason they may have a deeper understanding of the business is because that is THEIR job. MY job is IT. I do not tell Finance, or Logistics my expectations of them and nor should they dictate to me. Unless of course they want to do my job? - which they can't. That is why IT refers to everyone else as 'users' because IT services are used throughout the business.
  • Scary shadows

    I would venture to guess with the Shadow IT movement that the number of organizations with mission critical apps in unmanaged cloud environments is even higher than the survey suggests. Cloud computing offers IT leaders with interesting opportunities to enjoy strategic efficiencies, but as you suggest failure to gain control here could ultimately spell disaster.
  • Not true.

    "Cloud computing becoming pervasive"

    Uh, no it isn't. That's just hype by those pushing their own agenda.
  • I've got a better idea...

    All IT leaders grow some backbone and tell their boards that cloud managed services are a REALLY bad idea. You could make a presentation in which the last slide is your company logo hanging by a thread from a little cloud, over the grand canyon. If the thread (your data pipe) is cut, you lost access to everything, fall and die. If the cloud dries up, you fall and die. If its a windy day, you get buffeted around and probably fall and die. Then put a pic of the external service desk that manages the managed cloud and is supposed to help you, who are hanging by a thread, but their arm is just not quite long enough to reach, so eventually you fall and die.

    The 'cloud' is just such a stupid idea.
    • no kidding

      Y'all talking too much sense there Traxxion. The thing I have found right across my client base is that those calling for a move to 'cloud' computing usually just want to throw off the restrictions that are placed on them - usually due to company policy.
      When I sit down with an intelligent CEO and explain 'cloud' computing they just about always come up with the conclusion that having someone host their data is not a good idea.
  • Time for a wake-up call

    It is time for a wake-up call whenever anyone begins thinking about using the cloud. This whole "cloud" thing is simply a plan being foisted on us by software companies and providers of the Internet. There are numerous problems with having your data stored by and in the control of someone else (ask the users of Megaupload), and if you're using cloud software instead of purchased and installed on your computers, then you will be paying for it forever. Ask those who are still using Windows XP if they would rather be paying a monthly fee to use it all these years, or one single price?

    Going to the cloud means you will pay more in the long run, and have problems. It is not a case of WILL you have problems, but of WHEN. Like the recent internet outage in Europe?

    This article simply points out some of the problems, but avoids stating that the real problem is using the cloud in the first place.
  • Why circumvent IT?

    Part of this is an age old issue with IT, something that I run into with many clients. End users call you because they can't figure out how to restore the menu bar in IE, but have no problem rebooting Servers and firewalls without calling IT. Granted this is more relevant to the Small or Medium Business, but non IT personnel are more willing then ever to make IT decisions. These folks feel confident in their ability to setup an account, create users etc within the Cloud system at hand, but rarely think beyond that. I'm not sure why Business unit leaders would not work with IT on such decisions. And does the Cloud actually provide an improvement with performance?
  • IT needs to take control now

    While the cloud seems alluring, they have multiple sayings for situations like these. If you cannot think of one I'm not going to help. The cloud in theory is great and handy in some cases, but is not the solution. I agree with Traxxion that IT needs to get the point across to management, however that can be done, that it's very obviously a bad idea.
    bein' easy
  • Not surprising!

    IT can share some of the blame, however it's the Board of Directors needing to wake up to their fiduciary responsibility for enterprise risk and governance is where the root of most of the problem lies. Aggressive vendors (especially SaaS) will exploit every opportunity to 'land and expand' - It's their job to do this. Rob Livingstone Also, read my article in for some sobering reading ( )
  • Polsters need to gain control over questions

    Over 70 percent thought Both:
    IT should be responsible for public cloud services.
    sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.
    So what about the 40% or more that said both? What were the actual questions and possible answers to multiple guess from that made that many people disagree with what they just said?

    Over 70 percent said IT should be in charge, define that local IT is not in charge of "unmanaged cloud", and plan to go to "unmanaged cloud".
    Were those "enterprise infrastructure executives and architects" or lemmings?
    I say, no - the original data must have been gathered in a faulty manor or with misleading answers to ambiguous questions.

    You can't have KM when the K is filled with jibberish.
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