Cloud is now the new norm, and businesses, from enterprise to SMBs, are rapidly investing in and adopting cloud services. However, this poses the question, who’s making the decisions on what cloud services they should and will use?
Recently we wrote about a growing business trend and challenge, which is cloud sprawl. Cloud sprawl is the uncontrolled proliferation of an organization's cloud services or providers, and typically occurs when an organization lacks visibility into or control over its cloud computing resources. The CIO thinks they know exactly what’s going on in their business, who’s purchasing or downloading and using an application or service, and what they’re using it for. In the meantime, John, the CMO, just signed up with “the coolest CRM app I’ve ever seen, and it's much better than our old application”, and the CIO has no idea. Aside from loss of control, this also presents potential business risks such as unauthorized system access, data integrity and protection.
Who’s really making the decisions? IDG's 2015 Enterprise Cloud Computing Survey suggests it's a mixed bag. CIOs still have the majority of influence on the collaborative cloud purchasing process, followed by CTOs and CSOs. However, the keyword here is ‘collaborative’. Historically, in the world of IT, the CIO was employed to evaluate and choose the right technologies, innovations, and solutions for their business. If it was a major capital expenditure or infrastructure purchase then the CEO or CFO may have been involved towards the end of the process for final approval.
Now, cloud services and digital innovation evaluations are increasingly taking place around the boardroom table, and the respective heads of marketing, sales, HR, and operations will play a big part in these discussions. What’s more, it’s likely that each of them will have intimate knowledge of the ‘latest and greatest’ cloud disruptive services available on the market. The old adage ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ has never been truer than in the cloud world, and the CIO is no longer the keeper of all IT knowledge. The organization may even employ a Chief Digital Officer, who must understand the innovations the organization needs in order to compete and thrive in the new digital economy.
So, who’s really calling the shots and who should make the decisions? In an enterprise business it’s clear that the role of CIO/CTO will not disappear overnight. They have a strong understanding of the options such as private, public or hybrid cloud versus on-premise solutions, and are often the best people to evaluate these. However, their role is increasingly becoming more collaborative, and decisions on what cloud services to adopt are being heavily influenced across the business.
In a small or medium business the role of cloud service provider has never been more important. As more of their customers' IT infrastructure and services migrate to the cloud, the service provider becomes the trusted advisor who guides the business to the new and exciting cloud and digital world.
So, who’s calling the shots in your business?