Cloud adoption in the enterprise has historically happened at a grassroots level, meaning that individual business users, rather than IT departments, have led the charge in terms of cloud adoption. The power of the grassroots push can be seen in the way many software as a service (SaaS) providers have actively targeted individuals rather than the organization and CxOs on the well-proven theory that if you convert line of business users, they will drag your app in through the window if needed. Develop critical mass and the organization will follow. This strategy has worked so well, and for such a vast array of SaaS solutions and other cloud services, that organizations are beginning to realize that some order is needed to protect the enterprise and its resources without removing the SaaS and cloud-based services that have indeed proven their worth over and over again.
Much has been written over past years of IT as a reluctant, rear-guard participant in cloud adoption. But the very success of the cloud (which we’ll use as shorthand for SaaS and the realm of public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud-based services) has created a large and growing need for IT to provide the technical knowledge, guidance and control that is needed to embrace the cloud while enhancing the user experience—as well as serving critical enterprise requirements, including security; administration; cloud utilization auditing and accounting; and governance, risk management, and policy compliance (GRC).
These opportunities mean different things to different parties within the enterprise. IT departments are now aware that the cloud is a fact of life within the enterprise, and that they must respond effectively to stay relevant. The CIO needs an efficient cloud strategy that allows the enterprise to gain maximum benefit at minimum cost, complexity, and disruption. This in turn helps enable the enterprise lines of business to maximize the efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness.
IT leadership is required for companies to get the greatest possible benefit from cloud services. The growing use of cloud services means IT may no longer need to own and operate everything themselves, but can instead—or in addition—aggregate and integrate external cloud services. In this manner, IT can provide value as a trusted adviser to business units seeking the right cloud solutions. While IT traditionally has been the go-to department to help enterprises use technology to be more profitable and more efficient, the enterprise also needs IT to guide its cloud adoption with regards to compliance and policy management. This is true whether cloud services are provided internally or by outside cloud services providers (CSPs).