CIOs, stop dreaming about total cloud control

CIOs, stop dreaming about total cloud control
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Facts on the ground may force even control-oriented CIOs to accommodate departmental cloud computing

CIOs have a tough job these days. They have to adopt cloud computing and, at the same time, not give up control over their systems' processes and data.

Many CIOs are starting to regain control. Rogue clouds led in the past, with departments going around IT to make deals with SaaS and IaaS cloud providers. Today, those chickens have come home to roost, and IT is trying to make sense of the hundreds of cloud services that have been tossed back at them to manage.

The long and the short of it: You don’t want to be a CIO these days. They are tasked with moving to cloud for the operational and strategic benefits. But they are not given much more budget to do so, and they have a ton of existing rogue cloud baggage to deal with.

CIOs have two choices:

One choice is that CIOs can demand complete control over any system that the enterprise uses, including cloud systems. Gaining that control will take a great deal of work because most CIOs have thousands of applications to consider, as well as data coming from a variety of platforms. It'll take years, not months, to get all this fully under control.

The other choice is to let go of control. In this case, the CIOs become brokers of sorts, supporting the departments in their moves to cloud computing. This means the CIO will validate cloud offerings, and perhaps security and governance, but otherwise not interfere with the use of the cloud systems. If they choose that option, CIOs will also have to give up budget -- if you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment, that’s deadly to your career. Budget often reflects organizational power and importance.

This is the CIO’s dilemma.

Although I suspect most will go for control, the end game may require decentralization for the use of public cloud services. Why? Because corporate IT isn't yet set up to deal with clouds, and the demand from the departments could outpace IT’s ability to keep up. Thus, a "take back the control" strategy can't succeed, and CIOs will be forced to seek an accommodation instead. I already see that happening.

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