The fact that cloud services and virtualization are making it feasible for executives to oversee the administration of their enterprise networks from devices like smartphones and tablets, has boosted the power of the cloud like no single innovation before. But a new survey commissioned by application performance management tools maker Compuware reveals a possible backlash: CIOs tell the survey they're afraid of everyday consumers having the same potential for access and power that they have.
What does this mean for their technology plans? Nearly two-thirds of CIOs surveyed say that now, their IT mobility tools and services rollout plans have been rendered impossible. Their fear plays out quite literally like this: Consumer trends have driven demand for more bandwidth on public wireless networks, and for public cloud services. Because the public cloud exists, businesses are compelled to adopt it. Adopting public cloud exposes businesses to new dangers. For which consumers are to blame.
Of course, Compuware has a case to make for its own product lines; and in the end, its survey points to the need for more effective applications performance management tools. Which we knew already, and which doesn't surprise us; what is surprising is the idea that the availability of public services is something that is happening to businesses, not for them.
The survey was commissioned by independent research firm Vanson Bourne, which last September spoke with 100 CIOs each from the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany; plus 30 CIOs each from Italy, the Benelux region, Japan, and Australia - for a total of 520.
Among the CIOs surveyed, some 68% worldwide (77% in the U.S.) said the security issues, support costs, and risk of productivity loss brought on by greater consumer demand for the services that enterprises need, has become a risk in itself.
Consumers just have unrealistic expectations for the levels of services that IT departments are capable of delivering, say 74% of CIOs surveyed worldwide and 81% of U.S.-based CIOs. As a result, IT departments are having to be tasked with delivering functionality levels and multiple device support that they're not even ready for.
You might think it's the CIOs that are doing the tasking, who are placing this burden on their departments. Not so, according to the 67% of CIOs surveyed (79% from the U.S.) who say that technology acquisition projects are moving full-steam-ahead within their enterprises based on demands from over the CIOs head - from the CEO or the boardroom - and without IT departments even having a say on how these projects are implemented.
It's unusual for a company that sells management software to IT departments to have the wherewithal to tell its own customer contacts that they may not be the ones making the purchasing decisions in their enterprises.
In a statement earlier this week, Compuware's APM business unit CTO, Steve Tack, said the figures demonstrate "the age-old disconnect between business and IT is at risk of widening. Employees are clearly hungry to use the same technologies in their business environments that they are already using in their personal lives. This is creating more challenges for those responsible to keep these technologies up and running."
Of course, Tack's message then extends to the need for expanding the reach of performance management tools to account for end user experience as well - which is hard to argue against, even without the survey data. "This is the only way to support end users," Task says, "as they look to take advantage of trends such as cloud and mobility, which can be tremendously beneficial to the business if managed well."