What is Happening? This week, Saugatuck Technology hosted its annual Cloud Business Summit in New York City. The invitation-only event featured panels and close discussions with large enterprise CIOs and CTOs about their real-world experiences in enabling, building, and managing the business and IT in the emerging era of the Boundary-free Enterprise™ (BfE).

Discussions and presentations with IBM, SAP and PWC spotlighted experiences, challenges and solutions on the vendor/provider side, which is equally challenged as buyers and users fast-track more types of business operations into Cloud and hybridized environments.

A core theme in every formal and informal discussion was innovation – especially, the needs to innovate how we operate as IT leaders and organizations, given how the pace and scope of technological and business innovation is increasing, mostly as a function of user adoption and innovation with Cloud-based IT and business services. Most compellingly, we learned how innovation is a threat, an opportunity, and a critical need for any type of size of enterprise IT group.

Why is it Happening? In the weeks leading up to the Cloud Business Summit, we noted how the pace and scope of business innovation threatens who we are and what we do as IT leaders and organizations. Here’s what we said on Nov. 1:

The pace of Cloud-driven business innovation is outstripping even the accelerating pace of IT innovation – and therefore is outpacing the abilities of established IT and business management organizations and structures (read, “ Cloud Business Summit 2012 – The BfE Comes to NYC”).

The insights and experiences shared during the Summit this week confirmed the pace of business innovation being driven by Cloud-based IT and business services. This poses a threat to IT organizations and leaders because of the unique and vast combinations of unknown, ungoverned, nonstandard and unaccounted-for adoption and utilization throughout and between enterprises. That threat includes the very real disintermediation of IT organizations and governance – which should be viewed, by the way, as a threat to enterprises’ ability to do business securely and cost-effectively, and not as a threat to the power and influence of IT orgs and leaders.

That is because within that threat there is tremendous opportunity to rethink and repurpose IT roles, structures, and yes, power and influence. Saugatuck has laid out a set of changes and stages of occupation and influence that we see IT orgs and leadership going through as enterprises shift from more traditional ways of doing business through hybridized environments toward more and more Cloud-delivered services and capabilities.

Figure 1 (which was featured in this week’s Summit and previously examined in depth for Saugatuck research clients) lays out the basic progression of roles, responsibilities and influence through these stages (read, “Change, and Change Again: The Shape of IT Orgs to Come).

For an extended version of this Research Alert, visit Saugatuck Technology.

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