Tag Archives: shadow it

OIC speaker interview 4: Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Software – IT Solutions, Ovum

In the latest Ovum Industry Congress speaker interview, we chat to Laurent Lachal, Ovum’s Senior Analyst in the Software – IT Solutions division. Laurent is leading the Cloud Computing in the Enterprise track at OIC, including a presentation on ‘PaaS – a 360º view’, and is a specialist in the Cloud market.

Laurent-Lachal-2013Laurent Lachal: At OIC, I am most looking forward to interacting with cloud service providers and consumers, especially during one to one analyst clinics that are freely available.

Ovum: What do you see as the coming trends in your profession/area of expertise, and how can you prepare?

LL: The IT industry likes fashions. Fashions have a habit of coming back. Workflow, for example, was all the rage in the mid-90s then faded away, only to reappear in the mid-noughties as business process management (BPM). Similarly, the industry, which has been talking about the “digitalization” of economies, industries, and/or enterprises for a number of years, seems to have found a new interest, largely cloud computing-centric, in the subject in 2013. I expect this interest to remain sustained in 2014. Both cloud service providers and consumers will continue to struggle to cope with the need to:

  • Define balanced (public, private, and/or hybrid) “cloud first” strategies at both technology and business levels
  • Shift from cloud-enabling IT with a focus on cost control and automation, to cloud-centric transformation with a focus on making it easy to innovate
  • Become cloud brokers that aggregate, integrate, customize, and curate third-party cloud services
  • Understand, manage, and bridge a variety of cloud-centric digital divides including line-of-business (LoB) executives versus CIOs, shadow versus official IT, and developers versus IT operations divides.

Ovum: In relation to your area of expertise, what 2 pieces of advice would you give to end user organisations to prepare them for the coming changes, if any?


  1. Cloud computing is a long-term that redefines the way in which enterprises relate to their IT assets (in for example, the way they design and provision assets), their IT departments, their IT vendors, as well as one another because it makes it easier for them to share, and via public clouds it massively democratizes IT, disrupting whole industries and supply chains. Get briefed on the latest developments and the implications for your vertical sector. Find out if and where cloud services are already being used in your jurisdiction and others, and discuss the strategy and policy implications with customers and stakeholders. Cloud adoption is a two-way street. It is not just about whether cloud computing is ready for you, it is also about whether you are ready for it.
  2. Many executives regard technology evangelists as “drive-by shooters” who cruise by their offices firing so-called “silver bullet” solutions, creating panic and confusion with a barrage of innovation. The adoption of cloud services can cultivate the kind of decentralized decision-making environment that is an ideal target for “drive-by shooters”. The best defense is flexible enterprise ICT strategic thinking that includes an awareness of the big-picture trends in the ICT industry and the preparedness to get a grip on the logic of ICT management. A strategic perspective is recognizing that cloud services are primarily a business and organizational-level challenge and will therefore require a strategic, outward-looking, top-down response rather than a rigid, inward-looking defense of the enterprise ICT perimeter.
  3. A major challenge is to avoid the temptation to impose the full baggage of legacy IT expectations, requirements, and regulation on cloud services. It will be important to value the cloud for what it is, a new and potentially useful IT innovation in IT delivery, rather than regarding cloud computing services as conventional enterprise IT applications. Many of the benefits of cloud computing stem from the fact that it is a commoditized, standardized, take-it-or-leave-it service environment. Successful early adoption of cloud services will require an acceptance of its limitations, astute selection of appropriate opportunities, and a preparedness to solve the new problems that will emerge.
  4. Keep control under control. Try not to clamp down on employee-driven cloud shadow IT too hard in the name of security and governance. IT as well as business executives need to give user experience and user empowerment the same priority as governance to keep up not only with public cloud convenience and flexibility, but also their peers. They need to train employees on the advantages, not just the dangers, of public cloud services.

Enterprise utilising Cloud technology can claim a complimentary pass for Ovum Industry Congress. For more details, visit the OIC website.

OIC speaker interview 1: Neil Williams, Head of IT at Good Energy, on “Fringe IT” and more

In the first of a series of interviews with speakers at Ovum Industry Congress, the Ovum Live team got the thoughts of Neil Williams, Head of IT at Good Energy about the congress, the industry and his experience.

Neil WilliamsNeil Williams: At Ovum Industry Congress, I am very much looking forward to sharing ideas and opinions about organisational improvement. This is the lifeblood of my career and I am very pleased to be panellist in the discussion “Being an agent of change and transformation”

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career?

NW: As my experience grows, I better understand that IT is a necessary but not sufficient ingredient for economic success. Reflecting on the many transformational situations I have encountered, I recognise that people, organisation and process are far more important than technology.
I am also getting better at understanding what informs good economic choices. In the past, I may have been overly concerned about capacity utilisation and conformance to plan. These days, I find that reducing the cost of delay, managing queues and controlling in-process inventory are far more important.

Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job? Why and how do you manage, or intend to manage these?

NW: My biggest challenges are managing insatiable demand for mainstream IT and governing Fringe IT.

I use the term Fringe IT to classify what others call “shadow”, “stealth”, “rogue”, or “blackmarket” IT. The term refers to technology used by employees without the clearance or even knowledge of the IT team. This can take a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common are cloud services, spread sheets and databases.
Mainstream IT work is often invisible to outsiders – unless, of course, something goes terribly awry. There are tickets flowing through the help desk, bids, proposals, projects, work packages, maintenance and continuous improvement.
At Good Energy, I am adopting various approaches to tackling these challenges.

The major recurring themes include:

  1. Economics
  2. Managing Queues and Batch Size
  3. Centralised vs Decentralised Control
  4. Multi-sourcing”

To discuss these topics and more with Neil, make sure you join us at Ovum Industry Congress. It takes place at the Victoria Park Plaza in London, and is free to attend for end-user IT professionals.