Business and IT have no good reason to fight over the cloud

Despite progress, too many organizations are battling internally over who controls business technology

The RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report is out. Its most interesting finding: Business units see themselves having much more control of cloud-based resources than IT would perhaps like to see.

"Part of this conflict in expectations is likely rooted in the business units' desire for more agility and their concerns that central IT is too cautious in cloud adoption -- especially public cloud adoption," the report notes.

The fact of the matter is that enterprise IT has been wimpy in adopting the cloud, especially public clouds. Thus, the business units who've needed cloud resources to conduct their business have worked around IT -- always an option with public clouds.

IT would argue that cloud computing is computing and should be in its span of control. But business units would counter with two reasons:

  1. Its usage often goes to directly to their specific work processes.
  2. IT often resists, delays, or overly complicates the technology's use, putting the business units at risk.

The good news is that IT has responded to the business units' demands by more aggressively using cloud services and even reducing how long it takes to provision cloud resources for the business units.

The bad news: It's still a fight over control at many organizations. Some IT groups still believe their power rests in saying no, and they remind business units of that when anything new is proposed or, worse, when business units act on their own. Likewise, some business units have reacted to that "Dr. No" attitude by undermining or bypassing IT wherever possible in a passive-aggressive form of shadow IT, and the use of cloud services is an easy way to do that.

Whether or not your company has descended into such bad-blood behavior, the status quo that leads to months and months of delays while IT allocates human and computing resources needs to end -- quickly.

Perhaps cloud computing will push this IT/business unit conflict to a point of resolution. That would be a good thing.

In the case of cloud usage, my advice is to have IT be the gateway to cloud services that are required for the business. IT should become cloud service brokers and provide business units with the ability to self-provision the resources they need, when they need it.

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