As I see it 'cloud' applications have been seeping into organisations for years. By delivering over the internet, and sold direct to business units as low cost, no fuss applications, they have managed to stay out of sight, under the waterline, making multiple isolated islands of inconsistent data. If a CIO has been unaware of these activities, finding out 'too late' is a shock.
But in many cases, while internal systems could have provided 'control', the funds needed to develop your own systems did not exist.
I have been in the position of being unable to supply technology due to lack of funding, so have got involved with the projects to deploy specific cloud apps. This is the only sensible alternative to a blanket ban -- get involved, help the projects progress, look after security and try to ensure that data can be imported and exported and fits corporate formats and strategies.
The other reason that cloud apps frighten CIOs is facing up to the sheer effort involved in change management if a large scale corporate deployment was considered. Effort both in selling a project in and providing the detailed TLC needed to ensure it is accepted and used properly. You will need a really good reason to move an organisation from MS Exchange/Outlook/Office to Google Apps, and if the existing technology is reasonably fit for purpose this may seem impossible. But if the existing tech is failing, then cloud will be seized upon as progressive and an advance, despite differences and loss of detailed functionality. But who wants their existing tech to be failing? Most CIOs will work very hard to protect their organisations from this reality until it is too late.
Look at the many case studies and consider how many organisations have moved to Google Apps, for instance, because they have had burning need for change brought on by deficient existing systems? Rather than just fancied something new? And in how many companies has this coincided with an existing CIO exiting an organisation (perhaps not by choice) with an interim or new broom then making the high profile changes to which there is 'no alternative'?
Of course that worries CIOs. But really they -- we -- should be brave. Stop defending outmoded systems that need to be changed ??? support them professionally, but make sure that the need for change is well known and understood. Sell Cloud harder, make sure all levels of your companies understand why the world is changing, and build good business cases that include provision to make decent personal training/hand holding that will make implementing Cloud apps a success. Keeping on reheating the status quo, because it's easier and perceived as cheaper to 'just do an upgrade' to existing technology will not move on our organisations or careers.
Keep Up with TechRepublic