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  • Eliminating
    Eliminating "Us And Them": Making IT and the Business One
    by Steven Romero

What is Cloud Computing?

What is cloud computing? It may seem odd for me to be asking that question today given “the cloud” has been around for years and it absolutely dominates the information technology landscape. I actually addressed this question in a blog post I wrote two years ago. At the time, many people I encountered were struggling with the term and the litany of differing and disparate ‘expert’ views didn’t help this situation. My article focused on the definition developed by Peter Mell and Tim Grance at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing”, NIST Special Publication 800-145.

In the two years since I wrote my post, cloud adoption has continued to grow and there is no end in sight. Though the potential benefits of cloud computing are off-the-chart, this incredible information technology advance poses new threats in my quest to help eliminate the “us and them” divide between IT organizations and the businesses they serve. In my last post, I talked about the onset of “Shadow IT” - IT systems and IT solutions built and used inside organizations without organizational approval. Cloud-based applications and services represent one of the primary Shadow-IT conventions.  Many business units are in danger of undermining their enterprise goals by making unilateral and potentially harmful information technology decisions. This is tragic because sound cloud computing decisions could realize phenomenal potential for almost every organization. I also find it ironic because one of the themes of my latest presentation and workshop, “Ensuring Cloud Computing Success,” is how IT and the business can use cloud computing as a catalyst to act as “one.”

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Shadow IT: Cutting off the IT-Nose to Spite the Business-Face

Shadow-IT is on the rise. What is shadow-IT? The definition I encounter most often is: IT systems and IT solutions built and used inside organizations without organizational approval. One of the most interesting aspects of this allegedly new phenomenon is how shadow IT is being touted as a “threat to the IT department” or a threat to the CIO. Why isn’t it a threat to the “organizations” that are not approving these IT investments?

I think the definition is flawed because these IT initiatives can only be built and used after receiving some kind of organizational approval. Many folks would correct this flaw in the definition by changing “organizational approval” to IT approval. This clarification would bring the supposed threat to IT more into focus with shadow IT decisions being made unilaterally by the business, circumventing the IT organization entirely.

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The Business of IT Governance

Who is responsible for IT governance at your enterprise? I’ll bet your answer is the CIO, or one of their direct-reports. I am conducting an IT governance assessment for a large hi-tech firm and of the 34 executives I interviewed, half of them said it was the CIO. Most of the remaining folks identified various IT executives as sharing responsibility for IT governance. Of the 17 IT and 17 business execs I interviewed, only six identified members of the business as having responsibility for IT governance.

This enterprise is similar to most organizations I have encountered in the past six years of my global evangelism of IT governance. Companies and public agencies continue to make the mistake of expecting IT to govern IT, when in fact it is business leaders who should be governing IT.

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Tips to Secure Your Enterprise in the New World of BYOD

This is the second st guest post I have hosted on my blog. I met Ashley Furness through Kyle Lagunas, my first guest blog poster. Ashley is the CRM Analyst at Software Advice - an online resource for help desk and CRM software buyers guides and more. Here is her simple but sage advice for enabling employees to bring their own devices to work - a quickly growing trend for tech-savvy users:

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The Ever-changing Role of The CIO

I am sure you have heard the calls for the “new CIO.” Analysts, pundits, and IT experts are advising CIOs to change, or more popularly, transform. They warn if CIOs don’t change they will soon go the way of the dinosaur. Instead of a six-mile-wide meteor, it is the onslaught of so-called game-changing technology trends threatening to render “conventional” CIOs extinct. The consumerization of IT, mobile data, and cloud computing are the forces most frequently cited.

I wrote a post a couple of months ago dismissing the notion the CIO’s days, and IT’s days for that matter, are numbered I offered my rationale for why this view is ludicrous and I provided IT leaders with some advice to help prevent enterprises from throwing the CIO-baby out with the datacenter-bathwater. The calls for the CIO to change do not share the absurdity of the end-of-the –CIO predictions, but they potentially perpetuate one of two false claims: either they imply the need for CIOs to change is new, or worse, they imply the CIO role they advocate is new.

I contend the only CIOs who need to be told to “change” are the CIOs who have failed to successfully respond to the constantly shifting dynamics relentlessly influencing their roles. There are many CIOs out there who have responded to those forces at work and they have continually and successfully evolved into the information technology leadership role appropriate for their given enterprises.

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