CIOs are worried: cloud computing is being used as a way for businesses to dodge the IT department and get services delivered more quickly. But as well as giving the CIO sleepless nights, this attempt to side-step the IT department is causing additional cost and complexity along the way.

I recently wrote about how cloud computing deployments are kicking off without the CIO’s knowledge, and only coming to light when sys admins put their expenses through. Inside a large organisation this can mean uncontrolled spending on cloud computing that rapidly reaches tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And according to research by Forrester Consulting, two thirds of CIOs now believe their business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

“The simultaneous pull of cost reduction and simplification in one direction and better, cheaper, faster in the other is putting a strain on IT’s ability to meet expectations. CIOs are concerned that cloud provides their business a way around IT, which undermines the strategic partnership they are trying to build with business leaders,” said the report ‘Delivering On High Cloud Expectations’.

According to the report, one in three CIOs strongly agreed with the statement, ‘business executives perceive cloud as a means to be less dependent on IT,’ while only one in five non-CIO respondents felt the same way.

“This contrast indicates CIOs are more concerned than their teams that public cloud challenges, and maybe even undermines, their organisation. We agree with their concern; unbridled public cloud acquisition by shadow IT circumvents carefully planned strategies to reduce complexity, control costs, and provide reliable services.”

The survey also found that ‘shadow IT’ acquisition of cloud services is adding to confusion: 48 per cent of firms surveyed officially support deploying mission-critical applications to managed public cloud services, even though these services were being deployed by 80 per cent of organisations. “The 32 per cent difference suggests that many firms circumvent IT to get the services they want, confirming CIO worries.”

Four out of five respondents said setting a cloud strategy is a high priority, but IT organsations are struggling with complexity: four out of ten respondents said they had five or more virtual server pools, and three or more hypervisor technologies, making reducing cost and complexity a priority. The survey, sponsored by BMC Software, polled 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.