“Control slips away.” That was the 2012 title of a Gartner industry report predicting global trends for IT organizations and users, forecasting into 2015 and 2016 what the implications of the shift to low-cloud cost services, and the receding power of a centralized IT department and its budget, might look like.
Turns out it’s not just control slipping away. The recent “Art of Connecting” research done by British Telecommunications – a survey of more than 1,000 managers in eight global regions – suggests that:
- Three-fourths (76 percent) of IT decision makers say departments in their firm are sourcing or commissioning IT products and services with no input from their IT department.
- One-fourth of IT spending, on average, takes place outside the IT department. (That reflects less than a recent Gartner forecast of 40 percent, but may reflect that CIOs don’t always know.)
- The scale of shadow IT spending has three-fourths of IT decision makers concerned about their data, and 73 percent worried about the security of the entire IT infrastructure.
“CIOs are facing a Darwinian moment,” wrote the BT study authors, dramatically underscoring the need for more creativity in the CIO role as cloud and mobile capabilities overtake the IT department.
These study results were so consistent with the challenges we’re hearing from global industry leaders, C-level executives, so many of our clients. It’s an achievement to find the best balance. The idea of a good CIO guaranteeing systems compliance isn’t always what you’d first think of when you hear the word creativity, or maybe what your enterprise thinks innovation means. But optimizing all of the benefits of the cloud while delivering both the best systems and best value? That’s a creative CIO.
The NetEnrich team, based in San Jose, California, designs hybrid solutions to help business units take advantage of the flexibility and profitability of cloud-based technologies, while providing the protection, oversight and deep expertise that IT departments are expected to deliver and CIOs are sleepless over.
Their restlessness won’t be going away, either. On Sunday, Dave Lewis – contributing for Forbes – took a clear-eyed, honest and pretty amusing look at the day he realized that managing shadow IT was a learning opportunity. A few weeks before him, Mark Yates, a senior research analyst for IDC speaking with Forbes, described the shadow IT environment as the Wild West, while Simon Mingay, VP research at Gartner, delivered the quote that many CIOs – creative or not – already know: “Resistance is futile.”
The cloud brings undisputed benefits to the enterprise in terms of efficiency, rapid deployment and cost savings. Much of it, frankly, is just easier for people to use, and it’s hard to argue with users who feel they’re more productive and having a better experience.
CIOs get that, too. They really do. The BT survey found that among all those CIOs faced with this Darwinian moment? More than 70 percent chose cloud, mobility and unified communications as the Top Three trends available for delivering real business results. So protecting the company’s security and its investments, delivering cost savings and better performance, balancing the shadow with the IT?
There are creative solutions for that, and our CIOs know it.
- Chris Joseph