Oh wait…I hate statements like that. Sorry about that.
Statements like the above are made by people trying to defend the ‘cloud’ or whatever new or important product/service they are trying to sell today (or one they want to sell tomorrow).
That said…the cloud is an important aspect of technology that every organization should have already adopted into their technology strategy and roadmap. Ignore the option of the cloud and you may find yourself without a job soon.
Many IT professionals look at the cloud through fear-filled eyes. They see the cloud as their competition. They see the cloud as their job. This fear is natural and understandable…cloud services are a form of ‘outsourcing’. But…IT Pro’s shouldn’t be fearful and/or ignore the cloud…we should embrace it and plan for widespread adoption.
If the IT professional doesn’t plan for the adoption of cloud-based services, others will. Much like the world of Shadow IT within organizations…the cloud can enable an even greater Shadow…or it can help the CIO and IT shine some light within these shadows and start to transform Shadow IT into a properly managed technology infrastructure.
Terence Ngai, an HP Blogger and employee, writes about this very topic in an article titled Cloud computing puts an end to shadow IT on the Enterprise CIO Forum. In the article, Terence suggests that the Cloud will end Shadow IT for good. I disagree with that premise but I do think the cloud is a good start to getting a handle on Shadow IT.
Cloud computing gives business execs and IT leaders a unique opportunity to work together to develop an IT strategy that really meets the needs of the business. Why? Because more than any other technology, cloud computing offers undeniable benefits that can close the gap between business and IT. Line of business owners can quantify the business value of needed resources. And IT leaders could use that info to create a winning business case for cloud computing and demonstrate the value of IT.
I don’t disagree with that at all.
Terence implores business leaders to learn about Cloud technology and services and then help guide their IT groups towards those services. Not a bad approach for selling more services into the enterprise
One thing that bothers me about Terence’s suggested approach is this: If there’s a CIO or IT group out there that hasn’t already developed a technology strategy that includes the cloud, the leadership of that IT group should be replaced immediately. That doesn’t mean that their strategy should be to use the cloud…just that they’ve thought about how the cloud can be used when it is needed.
Personally, I don’t think the cloud will end Shadow IT. The cloud is an enabler of shadow IT…and if a CIO or IT group cannot find a way to insert themselves into the discussions around Shadow IT and moving services to the cloud, they’ll find themselves without jobs in the near future.
The cloud is here to stay (ack!)…and those of us in IT need to find ways to ensure cloud based services are used in a secure and professional manner. We know people within the organization are going to the cloud for services that they can’t get from IT (or at least think IT is too slow to deliver those services in a timely manner) so let’s help them understand the benefits and the challenges of the cloud.
By developing a technology strategy that includes the cloud and cloud based services, maybe…just maybe…shadow IT can be managed. It won’t be completely banished but at least IT professionals can get a better grasp on situation.
The cloud has helped to expand Shadow IT…its time for IT groups to incorporate both into technology strategy and roadmaps. Without embracing the ‘clouds and shadows’, the organization will continue to move faster than the IT group and continue to make IT and the CIO less relevant and less valuable.
Image Credit: Cloud & Shadows