Casting Light on Shadow IT

An interesting report from ChangeWave hit my inbox yesterday and I wanted to focus on a couple of points that seem particularly important to me.

First off, the wave of public cloud adoption has reached 41% of respondents, although it is unchanged since the previous iteration of the survey in January. Nearly the same proportion of respondents (37%) is planning to increase spending on public cloud services in the next six months. Finally, only 8% of respondents (and falling) say they have no plans to use public cloud services or plan to reduce spending in that area.

Why are companies reluctant to adopt the public cloud model? 57% of large companies not using public cloud services reported security concerns as being the primary blocking factor, followed by the difficulty of integration with existing systems. That last point about integration is backed up by the fact that only 10% of companies are currently using a hybrid cloud model – although that is set to rise to 14% over the next six months.

I don’t have my own statistics to quote, but those numbers chime with the conversations I have been having lately with current and prospective customers. Corporate IT departments are beginning to embrace activity that was already happening, but hidden from view as a part of shadow IT. In fact many companies have public cloud as a separate budget item (29% as a line-item within the IT budget, and 9% as a separate item entirely distinct from the IT budget).

Technology can not be considered in isolation; we as IT practitioners need to place technology in the correct context, together with people and process. A change in any one of these aspects will be reflected in the other two – or the imbalance will cause the project to fail.

Shadow IT was a response by people to process shortcomings. Virtualisation and the wide availability of web applications had vastly improved technology, but process had not moved on and often prevented people from taking advantage of those improvements. The time to obtain a service from IT has not changed in more than a decade. The response from people was to bypass the process and access technology directly, satisfying the immediate requirement. As much as a third of IT spending 5/already be outside of IT’s control and visibility.

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The problem is that shadow IT led to imbalance. The lack of process leaves IT environments suddenly vulnerable to new threats that previous defences are no longer adequate against. If you have spent many years building walls to keep archers and foot-soldiers out, figuring out patrols and rotas to man those walls, it’s hard to adapt to the sudden arrival of paratroopers in the heart of the city.

Whether you are already using cloud or just considering it… Actually, let me rephrase that. Whether you are already using cloud officially or just letting your users do their own thing, you need to consider all three aspects: people, process and technology. The right technology, supported with the correct processes, will make the people successful. Ignoring the demands of people or focusing only on delivering a technological fix will fail, no matter how good the tech is.

At BMC we can help you with all three aspects, identifying people’s goals and helping you put the correct process and technology in place to reach those goals. To find out more, see bmc.com/cloud.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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Dominic Wellington

Dominic Wellington

Dominic Wellington is BMC's Cloud Marketing Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has worked on the largest cloud projects in EMEA, and now he calls on that experience to support new cloud initiatives across the region. Previously Dominic supported BMC's automation sales with direct assistance and enablement throughout EMEA. Dominic joined BMC Software with the acquisition of BladeLogic, where he started up Southern Europe pre-sales operations. Before BladeLogic, he worked in pre-sales and system administration for Mercury and HP. Dominic has studied and worked between Italy, England and Germany.