Servers

Think you're not using the cloud? Your sys admin may know differently

CIOs who think they aren't using cloud computing might want to check out their team's corporate credit cards

There are plenty of reasons why a CIO might think they don't want to use the cloud, such as security and reliability, or simply because they like to be able to go down to the basement and chat to the servers every so often.

Despite much discussion over the past couple of years, most cloud computing is still in the early-adopter phase, with many CIOs limiting themselves to using the cloud for non-critical applications.

Or so they think.

I've recently heard from a number of CIOs that cloud deployments are growing rapidly in their organisations, but that these are deployments that started without their knowledge.

Instead of going through a lengthy corporate procurement process, sys admins and other IT workers are simply putting the cost of these services on their corporate credit card, and getting on with the job.

While this approach might seem like a good use of initiative on a niche project, across a large organisation it can mean uncontrolled spending on cloud computing that rapidly reaches tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It's a sign of the inevitable rise of cloud in the enterprise - even if CIOs try to keep it out, it's going to seep in through the windows, through the floorboards, through corporate credit cards.

So if you are a CIO with a no-cloud policy who has ended up in this situation, it seems to me you've a couple of options.

  1. Start looking much more carefully at the expenses claims your staff are putting in, and cracking down on anyone who breaks the rules. If sys admins have to pay for a few hundred virtual servers out of their own pocket, they may pay attention to company policy.
  2. Have an open conversation with them about your department's - and your organisation's - policy on using cloud. And then let them tell you why you're wrong.

But beware: it might be your mind that gets changed, not theirs.

About

Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.

5 comments
melbert09
melbert09

It sounds to me that if a CIO is in a position where sys admins or departments are just purchasing things without the knowledge of the CIO, the issue is either: A: The CIO is not engaged with the IT operations management team on projects that are being delivered or has historically not cared how projects are delivered. Has just focused on delivery or cost, and not how. B. The CIO or the company has put so many barriers or processes in place that it takes an eternity to get any type of service delivered. How many meetings, vendor quotes, CRB's, etc does someone need to go through to get something delivered in a reasonable amount of time. If a CIO or Director has departments or staff doing their own thing, I think that they should be looking at how their department run or engaging with the business to deliver IT services.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Bring in th Fraud Squad and let them have a long talk to the people who are misusing their Company Credit Cards. Nothing like a 20 Year Stretch + Expenses to make some people think twice about what they are thinking of doing. :D Col

n.gurr
n.gurr

Isee few admins interested in the cloud for core functions. Better to have control and oversight on your core services!

info
info

I'm getting sick and tired of all this rhetoric and drum-beating for 'the all-mighty Cloud'. For all of your pushing, the market will adopt it when it's READY to adopt it. Has it overcome most of it's challenges? I'd say yes. Will it benefit most businesses? Again, I'd say yes. Are there downfalls that sales reps and tech people with a personal interest in Cloud computing won't be so quick to tell you about? Ah, THEREIN lies the rub... The big thing I'm finding with this format, from on-lining gaming to outsourced VOIP, is that too many people must be overvaluing their time and the company's resources. The prices that are being charged for these services are INSANE compared to what they would cost for an internal solution, but people are soaking it up left, right and center. EVERYONE has their hands out, looking to drain you on a 'per use' or 'per resource' basis. While operating expenses ARE treated differently than capital costs, it's usually an Accounting oversight that fails to see that total expenses, all tolled, are usually more, MUCH more, with such solutions. They just hope to pull the wool over our eyes until it's 'just the way it is'. I used to work for a successful Canadian company that went out of business after the American parent tried to push a 'per-port, per-user'-based billing policy. I also piloted full VoIP solutions for two branch offices. Per-month costs have QUADRUPLED over what we expected. Of course, the ISP providing this service just 'forgets' to get back to me when I try to get them to price me an in-house solution. It's all about the money...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

this is a management problem. If IT employees are misusing credit cards to purchase cloud services, they've likely been misusing them to purchase other things long before the cloud condensed from vapor. Any supervisor or manager who doesn't mandate approval of credit card purchases needs remedial management training, if not a pink slip.