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CIOs Must Learn From Shadow IT

Posted by Justin Nemmers

2/12/13 2:18 PM

Michael Grant over at 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.

Shadow IT CIO IT Organizations
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.


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Topics: Customer, Public Cloud, Shadow IT, Agility, CIO

Gartner Research & Linthicum: CIO’s Need to Deploy Cloud Management

Posted by Justin Nemmers

1/24/13 12:51 PM

In a recent posting, David Linthicum discusses how a Gartner survey reports CIOs are saying more now than ever that cloud is a top priority.  He continues to say these same CIOs are at risk if they’re not moving their organizations toward Cloud Computing.  As he says “No surprise there.”

CIO House For Sale

CIOs - Either figure out a way to leverage cloud technology, or get into real estate


I think that there are several thoughts worth digging into a little more:

  • The average CIO’s IT organization is under a full-frontal assault by public cloud technologies which show users that a highly agile IT organization is not only possible, but it’s happening right now. 
  • Even if a business is not investigating or actively using public cloud, internal users still understand how quickly they should be able to get new resources delivered.
  • Groups that already have either public cloud deployments, or public cloud/other internal deployments, the IT organization’s ability to rapidly deliver new resources is key.  Over time, those organizations will look more like broker/providers as they gain significant agility from structural changes, and will be able to support both public and private deployments based on what’s best for the requested workload.
  • Any realistic cloud deployment plan has to include updates to process and procedures—i.e. you have to modify the organizational structure to be successful. 

It’s great that CIOs are (again) making a verbal commitment to investigate and implement cloud technologies, but as Linthicum says, “I suspect some CIOs did not respond to the Gartner survey honestly and will continue to kick plans to develop a cloud strategy further down the road.”

So how do you even get started?  My recommendation to CIOs:  Start by identifying some low-hanging fruit.  Deploy a Cloud Management Platform technology that enables cloud services such as IaaS and PaaS using your existing technology pool.  Then, pick a particularly savvy part of your user base, and push them into a IaaS/PaaS model using a modicum of surplus resources and this new technology.  As you work out the kinks, expand the project to cover more groups and workloads.  It’s a winning model, and I believe that many of these groups will find it considerably easier implement or expand cloud implementations and projects. 

In the end, Dave’s got it right…  Cloud might seem difficult, but I’m guessing that the real estate market is tougher.

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Topics: IT Organization, People, Agility, CIO