Category Archives: Rogue IT

Cloud Computing and the Changing Role of IT

By John Dixon, Consulting Architect, LogicsOne

On Tuesday April 29th, I participated in another tweetchat hosted by Cloud Commons. As usual, it was an hour of rapid fire conversation and discussion amongst some really smart people. This time, the topic was based around “cloud computing and the changing role of IT,” and there were some great takeaways from the dialogue.  Below are the six questions that were asked during the chat as well as a quick summary of my thoughts and the thoughts of the group as a whole.

  1. How is cloud computing changing the role of IT?
  2. Besides cloud, what other trends are influential in changing the role of IT?
  3. What steps should the IT department take to become a trusted advisor to the business?
  4. How should the IT department engage with the business on cloud purchases?
  5. Should the IT department make reining in rogue cloud services a top priority?
  6. How can the CIO promote innovation in the era of lower IT spending?


Question 1: How is cloud computing changing the role of IT?

  • The main point I wanted to get across in question one was that corporate IT is no longer just a provider of technology, but, rather, they are a provider of IT services.
  • IT needs to be relevant to the business. They can do this by developing valuable service products
  • IT now needs to be extremely proactive. No more sitting around waiting for something to go wrong… instead get out in front of demands from the business – understand the business’s specific issues, and proactively evaluate emerging technology that may be of benefit
  • All in all, I’d say most of the group was on the same page for this answer


Question 2: Besides cloud, what other trends are influential in changing the role of IT?

  • The most popular answers from participants were: big data, analytics, virtualization, mobility, BYOD, and DevOps. It seemed like every answer had at least one of these included in it.
  • A couple others I threw out were distributed workforce and telecommuters, social media, and the overall increased reliance on IT for everything


Question 3: What steps should the IT department take to become a trusted advisor to the business?

  • The key here is that IT should not try to ALIGN to the business’s demands…IT should PARTNER with the business
  • Another point I brought up was that IT needs to show the business that IT is another provider in a competitive market – corporate IT needs to shows that they deliver more value than alternative providers. After giving this answer, I got a couple questions wondering why IT should compete with 3rd parties rather than leverage them? My point was that cloud opens up competition in the market for IT services and that the business now has a choice of where and how to procure services. At this point it’s a reality, corporate IT is just another competitor in a cloud world.
  • A great answer from Jackie Kahle (@jackiekahle) was to tell the business something they don’t know about their customers by providing data-driven insights. In her opinion, and I agree, this will encourage the business to turn to cororate IT more often.
  • Another good answer from George Hulme (@georgevhulme) was to give users and the business viable alternatives with clear risk/reward/benefits delineated.


Question 4: How should the IT department engage with the business on cloud purchases?

  • My first answer was that IT should source their products and services with the “provider of best fit.” I got the following reply: “that implies choosing best of breed vs. integrated. Cloud practically makes best of breed a foregone conclusion.” The point I was trying to make, and the answer I provided, was that there are varying levels of cloud providers out there so IT departments still need to choose wisely.
  • Andi Mann (@AndiMann) suggested departments need to honestly evaluate their own ability to deliver. He stated in-house IT is not always best and that organizations need to proactively look for cloud to do better. Again, a point I agreed with.


Question 5: Should the IT department make reining in rogue cloud services a top priority?

  • No! Enable and harness their creativity by asking them to use a cloud portal sponsored by corporate IT!
  • IT should treat the business like a customer.
  • The majority of the group agreed that embracing rogue IT was the correct strategy here…not attempting to rein it in.


Question 6: How can the CIO promote innovation in the era of lower IT spending?

  • Ah, the CIO’s favorite saying…”Doing more with less”
  • Provide a means for “safe” Rogue IT (more on that in my summary)
  • Another concept that was echoed by some members of the chat was the idea of adopting a fail-fast culture. Cloud can enable faster deployments, which allows you to try more things quickly, and if you do fail, you can move on. This increases the pace of innovation by enabling the business to take on more “risky” projects – the software development projects that are great ideas but may not have a clear ROI.


My summary

Especially during the past year, in tweetchats and various other forums, consensus on the use and benefits of cloud computing is gaining unanimity. The most significant points:

  • Corporate IT should be a provider of whole IT services “products” and not just technology – and cloud computing can enable this
  • Cloud opens up the business to a competitive market for IT services, of which traditional corporate IT is only one option (thus the role of corporate IT evolves from technology center to order-taker to broker of services)
  • Rogue IT is not necessarily a bad thing; some of the best solutions may come out of rogue projects


GreenPages has been having internal discussions, and discussions with customers, around the concepts highlighted in this tweetchat for some time now.  Because of where the market is heading (as voiced by the thought leaders who took part in this chat) we have developed our Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS) offering. The product addresses the top issues that are now coming to light – transforming corporate IT into a provider in a competitive market, allowing for a safe place to innovate without being encumbered by policy and process (addressing rogue IT), and, going a step further, enabling consistent management across cloud environments. The premise behind CMaaS is to turn cloud inside out – to manage your internal environment as if it was already deployed in a cloud environment. Glance at this whitepaper I wrote about the concepts behind cloud management as a service and let me know what you think. I’d be very interested to hear people’s takes on whether or not a product like this can address some of the needs in the marketplace today.


If you would like to learn more about CMaaS, fill out this form and someone will be in touch with you shortly.


Cloud Corner Video- Keys to Hybrid Cloud Management


GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler and LogicsOne Executive Vice President and Managing Director Kevin Hall sit down to talk about the current state of the cloud market, challenges IT decision makers are facing today in regards to hybrid cloud environments, as well as a revolutionary new Cloud Management as a Service Offering.

If you’re looking for more information on hybrid cloud management, download this free whitepaper.


Or, if you would like someone to contact you about GreenPages Cloud Management as a Service offering, fill out this form.

Going Rogue: Do the Advantages Outweigh the Risks?

Are all rogue IT projects bad things? Could this type of activity be beneficial? If rogue IT projects could be beneficial, should they be supported or even encouraged?

Recently, I took part in a live Twitter chat hosted by the Cloud Commons blog (thanks again for the invite!) that was focused on Rogue IT. After hearing from, and engaging with, some major thought leaders in the space, I decided to write a blog summarizing my thoughts on the topic.

What does “Rogue IT” mean anyway?

I think that there are rogue IT users and there are rogue IT projects. There’s the individual user scheduling meetings with an “unauthorized” iPad. There’s also a sales department, without the knowledge of corporate IT, developing an iPhone app to process orders for your yet-to-be-developed product. Let us focus on the latter – rogue IT projects. Without a doubt, rogue IT projects have been, and will continue to be, an issue for corporate IT departments. A quick web search will return articles on “rogue IT” dating back around 10 years. However, as technology decreases in cost and increases in functionality, the issue of rouge IT projects seems to be moving up on the list of concerns.

What does rogue IT have to do with cloud computing?

Cloud Computing opens up a market for IT Services. With Cloud Computing, organizations have the ability to source IT services to the provider that can deliver the service most efficiently. Sounds a lot like specialization and division of labor, doesn’t it? (We’ll stay away from The Wealth of Nations, for now.) Suffice to say that Rogue IT may be an indication that corporate IT departments need to compete with outside providers of IT services. Stated plainly, the rise of Cloud Computing is encouraging firms to enter the market for IT services. Customers, even inside a large organization, have choices (other than corporate IT) on how to acquire the IT services that they need. Maybe corporate IT is not able to deliver a new IT service in time for that new sales campaign. Or, corporate IT simply refuses to develop a new system requested by a customer. That customer, in control of their own budget, may turn to an alternative service offering “from the cloud.”

What are the advantages of rogue IT? Do they outweigh the risks?

Rogue IT is a trend that will continue as the very nature of work changes (e.g. long history of trends to a service-based economy means more and more knowledge workers). Rogue IT can lead to some benefits… BYOD or “bring your own device” for example. BYOD can drive down end-user support costs and improve efficiency. BYOD will someday also mean “bring your own DESK” and allow you to choose to work when and where it is most convienent for you to do so (as long as you’re impacting the bottom line, of course). Another major benefit is increased pace of innovation. As usual, major benefits are difficult to measure. Take the example of the Lockheed Martin “Skunkworks” that produced some breakthroughs in stealth military technology –would the organization have produced such things if they had been encumbered by corporate policies and standards?

Should CIOs embrace rogue IT or should it be resisted?

CIOs should embrace this as the new reality of IT becoming a partner with the business, not simply aligning to it. Further, CIOs can gain some visibility into what is going on with regard to “rogue IT” devices and systems. With some visibility, the corporate IT departments can develop meaningful offerings and meet the demands of their customers.

Corporate IT departments should also bring some education as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable: iPad at work- ok, but protect it with a password. Using Google Docs to store your company’s financial records…there might be a better place for that.

Two approaches for corporate IT:

– “Embrace and extend:” Allow rogue IT, learn from the experiences of users, adopt the best systems/devices/technologies, and put them under development

  • IT department gets to work with their customers and develop new technologies

– “Judge and Jury:” Have IT develop and enforce technology standards

  • IT is more/less an administrative group, always the bad guy, uses justification by keeping the company and its information safe (rightly so)

CIOs should also consider when rogue IT is being used. Outside services, quick development, and sidestepping of corporate IT policies may be beneficial for projects in conceptual or development phases. You can find the transcript from the Cloud Commons twitter chat here: