IT departments struggle to control cloud adoption

IT departments are being increasingly bypassed by business units that are going it alone in buying cloud services.


IT departments, long criticised as being too slow in offering new technologies and services, may be facing a grassroots rebellion in many companies over cloud services, according to a new survey of cloud adoption inside companies.

Avanade, a services company  created by Microsoft and Accenture 10 years ago, sponsored the survey, which found 20% of those responding said they had gone around their IT department to provision cloud services.

Of that subset, 61% said it was easier to provision the services themselves, and 50% said it takes too long to go through IT. And while 60% reported that they have corporate policies in place that prohibit such actions, those policies aren't real deterrents.

Tyson Hartman, the CTO of Avanade, said that business units are responding to cloud in much the same way they have responded to other new technologies, which is to move quickly toward adoption.

"If you look at any technology at different points of adoption as it matures, you tend to find this side-effect of technology sprawling or growing outside of a prescribed governance model," said Hartman.

The survey data showed that the trend "was more pervasive than most people realised," said Hartman.

Ultimately, said Hartman, IT operations will realise that they have to control and govern the growing cloud sprawl to ensure systems comply with data security, privacy and regulatory requirements.

“The danger of bypassing the IT department  is that you will have no-one to turn to when you get problems with the cloud service. IT need to be involved so they can monitor any cloud services the business uses and ensure that the cloud provider is meeting the performance levels required.

"By monitoring the different services being used, they can also make sure that their organisation don’t end up with sprawl and pay for cloud services that aren’t being used efficiently,” James Peel, Product Manager, Opsview.

The business units that are adopting cloud may also save money by working with IT, particularly if other business units are adopting similar services and platforms but aren't leveraging any synergies.

Overall, the survey found that 74% of enterprises are using some form of cloud services, up 25% since Avanade conducted a similar survey in 2009.

Companies are also training their employees on cloud platforms, with 64% reporting investments in training for both new and current employees.

Avanade commissioned Kelton Research to conduct the survey, which had 573 respondents, including C-level executives and business unit leaders.

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