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Study: Cloud Computing Becoming Pervasive

IT needs to step up now and change its approach to cloud services.

Cloud computing may be taking the business world by storm, but its success could mean a "perfect storm" that endangers the role of IT.

As a result, IT needs to step up now and change its approach to cloud services. This includes building trust with the lines of business, beginning to manage public cloud services, and pursuing increased automation for service provisioning and operations.

These are the key findings of a survey commissioned by BMC Software and conducted by Forrester Research. The study, "Delivering on High Cloud Expectations," shows that business units' demand for speed and agility is leading them to circumvent IT and acquire cloud services, more than half of them from what were termed "unmanaged" clouds.

Brian Singer, Lead Solutions Marketing Manager for BMC, said his company commissioned the survey in an effort to confirm what the company was hearing anecdotally from customers. "Cloud and software as a service (SaaS) are in enterprises in a big way," Singer said, "and we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them."

Cloud and SaaS are in enterprises in a big way and we wanted to see how IT was dealing with them.

For the study, researchers polled 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Among the key findings:

  • Today, 58 percent run mission critical workloads in unmanaged public clouds, regardless of policy. The researchers use "unmanaged" to describe clouds that are managed by the cloud operators, but not by the company buying the service.
  • In the next two years, 79 percent plan to run mission-critical workloads on unmanaged cloud services.
  • Nearly three out of four responders, 71 percent, thought that IT should be responsible for public cloud services.
  • Seventy two percent of CIOs believe that the business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

Wake-up call

"This is a wake-up call," Singer said. "They know that this is going on and they understand that cloud is a way to go around monolithic IT." According to the survey, 81 percent of respondents said that a comprehensive cloud strategy is a high priority for the next year.

While cost is a major driver in the C-suite, the lines of business respondents put cost way down on their list of priorities. Instead they are seeking higher availability, faster delivery of services, more agility, and options and flexibility.

The researchers suggested a three-prong approach for IT to get a handle on this:

  • Build trust with the users and create a better user experience -- have an honest conversation about needs of the business, incorporate business requirements into a cloud strategy, and demonstrate progress toward them.

    They know that this is going on and they understand that cloud is a way to go around monolithic IT.

  • Shift from unmanaged to managed public cloud services. Many cloud vendors allow IT operations to monitor and manage services. This will help mitigate the risk and complexity that unmanaged clouds now introduce.
  • Develop ways to provision and operate internal services so that users get experiences similar to those they get from outside. This requires more automation to rapidly deploy solutions.

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More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

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