Finding a Better Way to Manage Today’s Cloud

The following is a guest post from Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan is an expert on cloud computing, the Managing Director of THINKstrategies and founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace. He can be reached at jkaplan@thinkstrategies.com

Managing the cloudEverywhere you look there are more indications that the corporate world is migrating to a new generation of Cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to respond to a series of unprecedented business challenges. Ironically, many corporate decision-makers are being enticed into adopting these new solutions because of their ease-of-use and economies of scale, but IT organizations are being confronted with a new level of complexity as they try to gain control over their rapidly changing operating environments.

There are a number of issues, which are conspiring against IT organizations trying to keep pace with their business end-users and executives’ escalating demands. First, many of the new Cloud-based, SaaS solutions are being adopted without IT involvement or knowledge. The consumerization of IT or ‘shadow IT’ phenomenon is creating security, compliance, integration and vendor management issues for large-scale enterprises as well as small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs).

Second, there is a proliferation of players seeking to win a share of the rapidly growing Cloud marketplace. THINKstrategies refers to this as a “Cloud Rush” effect. Some of the new players will be lucky to survive in this highly competitive environment, while many of the incumbent software vendors (ISVs) are simply re-branding and repositioning their legacy solutions, or “Cloud-Washing”, to retain their share of the traditional software market. This chaotic competitive landscape is making it difficult for corporate decision-makers to select the right Cloud solution and for the IT organization to manage the vendor relationships.

Third, and most importantly, IT organizations must contend with these challenges at the same time that they are still spending far too much time trying to keep their legacy systems and software up and running. The truth is that few IT organizations have had a firm handle over their existing on-premise, data center operations. In many cases, IT organizations spend 75-80% of their time reacting to issues as they arise rather than helping their business units capitalize on their IT assets.

IT organizations have been plagued by cumbersome and costly IT management systems, which have been difficult to deploy and even harder to utilize. I refer to them as the ERP systems of the IT environment. And like their business application counterparts, traditional IT management systems have been more expensive than expected to deploy and less productive to maintain. As a result, most IT organizations lack the management resources necessary to administer their routine day-to-day needs, never mind the far more dynamic world of the Cloud, which is being layered on top of the old systems.

And, the new world of the Cloud isn’t going away. In fact, Gartner recently predicted that nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid Cloud deployments by the end of 2017. This isn’t surprising because as corporate end-users and executives find SaaS solutions that satisfy their specific business needs, they immediately seek more SaaS apps to address other functional requirements.

In response to these trends, IT organizations are increasingly recognizing that they also need a new generation of Cloud-based IT management solutions to meet their escalating needs. Ideally, they are looking for solutions that are not only easy to deploy and administer, but also provide a holistic view across their on-premise systems and Cloud resources. This integrated, ‘single pane of glass’ capability is becoming the focal point for building an effective IT management platform in a hybrid Cloud environment.

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