Control vs Consumption-based IT modelNote: This is the second in a series on Shadow IT. In this post, we’re talking about the differences in IT operational models that could lead to Shadow IT in businesses.

The way things are now, IT’s speed of change is unable to meet its business’s speed of need, which leads to Shadow IT. Why? Because IT has traditionally been a control-based model, whereas a line of business is adapting and/or moving to a consumption-based model. Let’s review how each model works.

Control-based model:

This is the model where the IT department is incentivized and directed to exercise control over the infrastructure, network, etc. Traditional technology departments have been furthered saddled with compliance and governance, and while it’s debatable whether they should have been given that burden, the fact is, they have it now.

Some challenges to the control-based model:

  • Wrong focus: Rather than listening to the customer, control-based models focus on governance and compliance: When you have to worry whether your systems are compliant with certain laws and regulations, it’s hard to remember what your customer wants.
  • Slow: Control-based models are notoriously slow. Control-based systems focus on building a series of gates to ensure compliance. This is a bolt-on approach that involves procurement, approval, design, implementation, etc. By the end of it, the customer could have found a ready-made application and moved forward with it immediately. What’s the point of having control over the infrastructure if no one’s using it?
  • Security, compliance problems: When IT doesn’t know what’s happening in its infrastructure, there’s a major risk of a security breach or compliance violation.
  • High overhead: Again, it all points back to the availability and increase in demand of the technology. I’m sure many IT departments can relate to the Genie in Aladdin, when asked what he would wish for. It sounds pretty nice not to have to go, “Poof, what do you need? Poof, what do you need? Poof, what do you need?”
  • Communication problems: Again, this is because there isn’t focus on the customer. No matter the situation, communication breaks down when one of the parties isn’t listening.

Consumption-based model:

Now let’s talk about consumption-based model. It’s the newer model that views technology as a set of services, taking each of IT’s disciplines (software, infrastructure, disaster recovery, backup, etc.) and turning them into consumable, on demand, services. With the wealth of companies popping up to offer IT services in one way or another, internal IT departments are being taken out of the equation, and the consumer is being marketed to directly—and rather effectively.

What makes a consumption-based model better?

  • Puts the focus on the customer: A consumption-based model proves you can listen to your customers and compete directly with the outside market.
  • Compliance and security baked in, rather than stapled on: When a major part of your job is already done for you, it makes your life that much easier.
  • Extremely flexible, and built to be scalable: Consumption allows you to consume by the sip to test your model, and then scale as you need, when you need.
  • Faster, more efficient: With everything on demand, there is no choice but to increase the speed of need. When you can provide your customers the resources they need, when they need them, you automatically become more efficient.
  • Easier to show chargebacks: With a consumption-based model, you can see which department is using which resources, how much, and when.

Honestly, it is really difficult to make the change from old model to new. Aligning one department’s priorities with another is never easy, no matter how small or large your organization. But doing so makes you as an IT department no longer a cost center, but rather a partner actively invested in the business’s success.

There’s evidence that the control-based way of delivering technology is dying. IT budgets are flat or growing significantly slower, while at the same time, security, governance and compliance requirements are inflating. If you’re not actively moving to a consumption-based model, you’re hurting your organization. Don’t be that organization! The slower you are to adapt, the slower everyone else will be to adopt, and the more trouble you’ll have down the road.

If you’re trying to get a grip on your shadow IT problem, Online Tech can help. We understand what it’s like to fight Shadow IT, and we’ve designed our services to be of most benefit to large organizations that would see the most benefit. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you fight shadow IT.