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Supporting cloud services is a quandary for IT

A CIO was recently approached by a business line manager about a problem with a cloud service. The manager asked if the CIO could help resolve the issue, and the CIO gave him a flat-out “No.”

It is a sign of the struggle going on in many IT organizations: If users bypass IT to buy cloud services, is IT in turn responsible for that service and the support problems that come up?

This CIO, who was one of the attendees of a roundtable on cloud services sponsored by the trade and investment arm of the British Consulate-General in Boston, felt that he needed to make a point. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t want to help the manager, but in the future, he wanted the business to come to him before signing a deal with an external service provider. In the end, he felt that IT should be involved in selecting the provider and negotiating the contract.

Several of the attendees, a mix of CIOs, cloud providers and consultants, voiced their concerns about the growing demand for IT to support external services.

What they wanted to see was a service provider, or software vendor, that could develop an integrated services management layer for a mix of internal and external services, or several public cloud services. This layer has yet to appear, they said, yet many companies are moving in this hybrid direction. Of 500 IT executives surveyed, 43% said they plan to have a hybrid cloud services strategy (a mix of private and public cloud services) within the next three years, according to consulting firm Sand Hill Group. Read about the study in this blog post by Sand Hill’s head of cloud research, Kamesh Pemmaraju.

This sounds like a great opportunity for vendors, cloud providers or perhaps a new breed of startups to step in, but for now the attendees said they are developing their own standards and management layer for hybrid clouds.

Let us know what you think about managing cloud services. Email me at [email protected].

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