IT increasingly bypassed on cloud adoption

Many business users say IT shops move too slowly

IT departments, long criticized as being too slow in offering new technologies and services, may be facing a grassroots rebellion in many companies over cloud services.

A new survey that looked at cloud adoption inside companies found that many business executives are bypassing IT altogether in adopting cloud services -- and they face few consequences for doing so.

Avanade, a business technology services company that was created by Microsoft and Accenture about 10 years ago, sponsored the survey. Conducted by Kelton Research, it involved 573 respondents, including C-level executives and business unit leaders.

In the survey, 20 per cent of those responding said they had actually gone around their IT department to provision cloud services.

Of that subset, 61 per cent said it was easier to provision the services themselves, and 50 per cent said it takes too long to go through IT. And while 60 per cent reported that they have corporate policies in place that prohibit such actions, those policies aren't real deterrents.

Tyson Hartman, the CTO of Avanade, said that business units are responding to cloud in much the same way they have responded to other new technologies, which is to move quickly toward adoption.

"If you look at any technology at different points of adoption as it matures, you tend to find this side-effect of technology sprawling or growing outside of a prescribed governance model," said Hartman.

The survey data showed that the trend "was more pervasive than most people realized," said Hartman.

Ultimately, said Hartman, IT operations will realize that they have to control and govern the growing cloud sprawl to ensure systems comply with data security, privacy and regulatory requirements.

The business units that are adopting cloud may also save money by working with IT, particularly if other business units are adopting similar services and platforms but aren't leveraging any synergies.

Overall, the survey found that 74 per cent of enterprises are using some form of cloud services, up 25 per cent since Avanade conducted a similar survey in 2009.

Companies are also training their employees on cloud platforms, with 64 per cent reporting investments in training for both new and current employees.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

Read more about cloud computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.

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