Michael Grant over at CloudScaling.com penned a pretty interesting article asking what CIOs can learn from Shadow IT. Dave Linthicum came to a similar conclusion in a blog post back in August. I think that the most interesting part of the article is the claim that “Shadow IT is less a threat, but more of a positive force for changing the way IT is delivered in the enterprise.”
I’m not sure that many CIOs would tend to agree with that statement, if for no other reason that the risk to business be it real or perceived. CIOs certainly see what can be done, but the implementation of a public cloud-like model often stands in juxtaposition from how their IT Organization was built to operate. It’s not just a drastic change to the technology model, but also a groundbreaking adjustment to how the team operates on a day-to-day basis. For that reason alone, it’s not as easy as just deciding to alter the resource provisioning and request model. There are real tools that are needed, and few are able to effectively offer the needed capabilities without actually replacing existing technologies.
CIOs need to learn how to benefit from the decisions made by shadow IT.
As Michael correctly claims, strategic CIOs absolutely get that the opportunity for cloud computing lies not just with the technology, but also with the technology’s ability to enable IT organization transformation to be more responsive to the business. Organizations can even create new revenue opportunities. Selecting the correct tools to enable this transformation is the key.
CIOs need to select the tools that allow them to both most fully leverage existing capabilities and expertise. There is little value migrating away from proven technologies that organizations have already spent significant sums procuring and implementing. Of course, I’m talking about a Cloud Manager here. A good one needs to integrate with, not replace existing technology. Once a Cloud Manager is deployed, CIOs will have the flexibility needed to make additional technology selections. Want to implement OpenStack? Want to pull in entire application stacks and present them as PaaS? How about leveraging an updated configuration management/data center automation tool? No sweat. The right Cloud Manager helps CIOs get there.
Finally, what I will agree with, however, is the notion that CIOs can learn from the delivery models of Public Cloud-based compute, in order to alter their way of doing business. In fact, they have to. IT organizations are under an amazing amount of pressure to perform. Even in organizations that have effectively curtailed the usage of shadow IT, the IT organization just looks bad when it takes them three weeks (or more!) to deploy a server for use by someone in the business.
Linthicum sums it up pretty well:
“I do not advocate that IT give up control and allow business units to adopt any old technology they want. However, IT needs to face reality: For the past three decades or so, corporate IT has been slow on the uptake around the use of productive new technologies."
Cloud has the ability to drastically alter that model. In a way, IT organizations can’t just get out of the way and let their users do whatever they want, but if they don’t learn from those cues, they’ll need to find other employment.
With an effective Cloud Manager, such as CloudBolt C2, CIOs can present the entirety of their virtualization resources as private cloud, and enable public cloud resource consumption as well, all while ensuring that IT management has control over governance, and total visibility into the cost impacts of various deployments. For CIOs that wish to remain relevant, it’s a must.