Many businesses that adopted an IaaS cloud originally believed that their investments in remote resources would trim their personnel ranks in tandem with their IT expenditures. However, a new survey indicates that aggressive cloud procurement has actually produced larger and more influential IT departments that manage complex private clouds and on-premises architectures.

The enterprise cloud is a viable solution to issues that often trouble legacy systems, such as finding efficient and timely delivery mechanisms for software updates and patches. According to a Cisco Consulting Group and Intel survey, IT workers regard cloud solutions as effective tools that grant additional flexibility to their decision-making processes.

Such versatility has resulted in IT departments now spending 23 percent of their budgets on cloud technologies, noted Forbes columnist Joe McKendrick in his breakdown of the Cisco survey. In three years, that budgetary share is expected to rise to 27 percent.

Increased cloud-related outlays may not translate to fewer IT employees, however, despite potential efficiency and productivity gains and reductions in on-premises equipment. Rather, nearly 6 in 10 respondents expected IT departments to accrue additional intra-organizational powers and hire more full-time employees.

The relationship between LOBs and IT managers
Most critically, IT managers and teams may serve as intermediaries that can educate line-of-business managers (LOBs) on how to best make use of company cloud resources.

In such scenarios, this greater IT influence over management of enterprise-class cloud computing may balance the already considerable controls that LOBs exercise over company clouds. Currently, LOBs supply 44 percent of IT spending worldwide.

"The influence of LOBs will extend across all IT lifecycle stages and create unprecedented complexity for IT organizations as they grapple with security and technical support," asserted Cisco cloud expert Manjula Talreja, who proceeded  to suggest that "as IT transforms to an 'as-a-service' model, the interlocks and relationships between IT and the LOBs will need to change," underscoring potential tensions over cost management and control.

What IT departments need from cloud providers 
Aside from revisiting their relationships with LOBs, IT managers will need assistance from cloud providers that can supply ample hosting resources and security assurances. Many of Cisco's respondents identified security concerns as the largest inhibitors to beginning any future cloud projects.

Additionally, providers can help their customers by working with VARs and partners to create compatible solutions that cover the entire stack.

"In a competitive marketplace, cloud providers will need to offer end-to-end solutions while orchestrating an ecosystem of partners," argued Talreja.