As Shadow IT deployments proliferate and more business leaders bypass their internal IT departments for outside providers, tech leaders face an important decision: co-exist with these service providers, or evolve and adopt a service provider mentality themselves. There’s no cut and dried answer to this, as I’ve seen CIOs take either approach and be successful with it. Most have settled on a sort of hybrid approach, accepting that certain SaaS applications (such as Salesforce.com) are best-of-breed and the chance of bringing that function back in-house is basically nil.
But there is another category of cloud usage where a business unit buys an application and then deploys it on rented VMs. Until recently these were hard to detect and businesses would go along never knowing that there was a costly duplication of efforts between IT and the BU. This is obviously not efficient and a decision needs to be made between the two.
I wrote earlier about business leaders going outside the company for technical resources because their internal IT teams aren’t responsive enough. Assuming that has been fixed, how can you go about winning back those BUs?
IT departments can become cloud providers through leveraging an internal cloud infrastructure. Building a cluster of servers loaded with cores, storage and RAM, then renting those resources out to various business units within the company, can prove to be a lucrative option if done correctly.
So, how to build a cloud? There are numerous whitepapers and opinions on the best way to go about it, but the purpose-built, vendor-agnostic method in use by most service providers is Openstack, an Open Source project that was founded by Rackspace (one of the the biggest cloud providers) and NASA. It is compatible with Amazon’s AWS in case you want hybrid-cloud burst capability, and more importantly it has clear standards and architectures.
At the end of the day, no external source is going to understand your business the way your team does. They don’t have the contacts you do and can’t have the level of engagement with the business that you can. After all, you’re in the same building. Use that to your advantage.