How to manage innovation with cloud brokerage

By: Derek Catlin


Innovation fuels business and disrupts industries. But without the proper parameters in place, innovation can turn into chaos. There’s a balance that must be maintained in the pursuit of digital transformation.

This situation can be seen in the natural world as well as the technological one. Take Lake Toho in central Florida as an example. The introduction years ago of hydrilla, a prolific underwater plant, facilitated a surge in the wide-mouth bass population by creating an optimum ecosystem for the fish to thrive. This was a boon to the fishing industry, but the hydrilla began to suffocate the lake and had to be managed.

The introduction of cloud has had a similar effect on the way companies do business. The cloud provides line-of-business (LoB) developers access to IT services quickly and nimbly so they can innovate more easily and less expensively, which in turn facilitates innovation. But without the proper management and security, this situation can place a business at risk, as well as result in out-of-control cloud spending.

Given the increasing impact of growing LoB technology budgets, more tech-savvy employees, and cloud-based services, it is likely that LoB IT will continue to grow in influence and impact. Moreover, the rapid emergence of digital transformation initiatives in LoB organizations will only add more fuel to that fire.

This means CIOs, often in partnership with their CFO, COO, and/or CISO, should be creating an organizational vision for the coexistence of traditional IT and LoB IT, preferably one that maximizes business benefits while managing risks within the boundaries of the enterprise risk profile. LoB executives and staff are increasingly tech savvy, but most are still not well versed in enterprise architectures or the challenges of technology integration, and they are not naturally thinking about the holistic management of IT beyond their business units, across the entire company.

CIOs faced with this situation have three options:

  • Ignore out of control cloud IT usage;
  • Try to control and contain it;
  • Find ways to work with LoB organizations.

The first approach has the obvious drawback in financial implications. The second often results in stifled innovation. The third approach is the focus of cloud brokerage solutions and in our opinion is the most viable option over the long haul.

IBM Cloud Brokerage Managed Services strive to put enterprise IT (back) into the role of focal point for governance and compliance, without sacrificing flexibility or selection. This has the potential to improve an enterprise’s overall compliance posture, particularly where cloud consumption has grown without adequate controls or where shadow IT has become prevalent.

IBM Cloud Brokerage Managed Services apply principles of investment and risk management taken from the financial industry and looks at IT services as a portfolio of solutions across purposeful categories. Design Thinking workshops help IT leaders begin to build their own custom tailored plans, while cost and asset management dashboards change the game for tracking and optimization. This approach is helping IBM’s clients reduce inefficient cloud spend costs by 10% to 30% and to track significant increases in ROI.

Learn more about IBM Cloud Brokerage Managed Services.

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About The Author

Derek Catlin

Cloud Brokerage Specialist, Cloud Brokerage Center of Competency, IBM Global Technology Services

Derek Catlin is helping transform our industry to the next generation of IT service consumption. He has over 30 years of experience in information technology, much of it with IBM, supporting customers and engagements across many industries. Prior to the IBM Cloud Brokerage CoC role, Derek was a Principal Consultant and Enterprise Architect on the... Read more