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This week I am in the Middle East, where there are very few clouds in the sky, but on the other hand every CIO has clouds on their mind.

 

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Image by Makz

I had the opportunity to speak to a gathering of regional CIOs arranged by a partner of ours, and to discuss their hopes and fears for this latest evolution of IT. Their main concerns were around governance, risk and compliance, performance and capacity management, and organizational transformation. The feeling in the room was that most cloud service providers do not yet have a sufficiently mature and reliable model for customers to trust them with mission-critical workloads.

 

Among the aspects which were felt to be neglected, security was highly ranked, but the main expectation on the part of the group was guidance and best practices. In the view of the assembled CIOs, service providers need to move beyond pure infrastructure hosting and offer their customers guidance and expertise. However, very few CIOs said they would feel comfortable handing over their entire IT operations to a single provider. Rather, they expect to see a world of many smaller providers, each specializing in one particular niche of a complex IT ecosystem.

 

This preference for multiple specialist providers as opposed to a single larger partner is partly as a hedge against failure of individual providers' operations, but it is also very much of a piece with the move that is underway towards end-user empowerment. Where each team or even individual user might bring their own requirements and expect IT to be able to satisfy them rapidly, a single provider will almost certainly not be able to respond in an acceptable timeframe to all these very diverse requests. The CIO will however be expected to provide control and governance around all of the constantly changing mosaic of providers.

 

This is where Business Service Management (BSM) comes in: thanks to the heterogeneous approach at every level of the stack, BMC is able to provide central visibility and management into a diverse and evolving IT environment. As one of the CIOs present at the Riyadh event put it, "anything else means setting ourselves up for failure".