CIOs Seek Value But See Challenges with Cloud Computing

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bill Gerneglia

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Many CIOs and other senior IT pros actively seek and often see true value in the deployment of Cloud Computing initiatives for their organizations.

Many however are cautious in adoption because of several ongoing Cloud challenges such as lingering security concerns and potential vendor lock-in issues.

In addition, many of the challenges faced by CIOs surrounding Cloud Computing are non-technical in nature and concern how the changes related to a move to the Cloud effect existing employees, management, processes and policies.

The move to the cloud is disruptive to the current workplace. For example, if you are the CIO of your organization and you spent the last decade locking down your data center hardware, patching your OSs, developing a disaster recovery plan, and securing your applications are you really in a rush to move the operation and applications to the cloud? 

The face of corporate IT changes dramatically with a move to the cloud – no longer do people need to spend time racking and stacking servers, patching software and other low level tasks – the fact is that in the long run individual organizations will not have email server administrators, desktop software support personnel or systems administrators.

According to a survey, "Current Trends in Cloud Adoption: A Survey of CIOs and IT Executives," cloud adoption is moving forward but at a slow and guarded pace. Only 31 percent of respondents say their systems are primarily cloud-based at this time. Additionally, 88 percent indicated challenges during migration. The major adoption challenges “focused on the need to integrate data between different applications and ultimately knowing where the data resided.”

Still while many CIOs are concerned about where their data resides, the vast majority believe they will derive great value from business intelligence Software-as-a-Service applications. 

"Businesses are investing heavily in cloud computing today," says Diane Hagglund, senior research analyst for Dimensional Research and the study’s author. "Our research reveals high optimism and expectations among CIOs and IT executives for cloud adoption and value, but also hurdles including the anticipation that IT will end up operating cloud applications bought by other areas of the business and without input from IT. In overcoming these and other hurdles to adoption, good communication is essential, but not always existent. One silver lining: BI can help solve problems caused by siloed SaaS applications.”

The survey was conducted in May 2012 and respondents were selected from a wide range of titles, company sizes and industries. 86 percent of respondents were based in the United States and Canada, and 7 percent came from the EMEA and APAC regions, respectively.

A significant technology trend was noted by the publishers research team which reaffirms what we are hearing from the CIOs we routinely speak with - increasingly vendors are embracing SaaS and they are designing or re-designing their application offerings to leverage cloud computing. The larger vendors are continuing the porting of their performance management applications to high performance in-memory calculation platforms. Increasingly, mobile access to these applications, especially on the data consumption side, is starting to gain traction. Big Data is an area that is rapidly growing in the performance management field.

Here is a summary of the survey’s results:

1. 92 percent say the adoption of cloud technologies is good for business

2. 67 percent say cloud technologies help IT deliver better systems for less money

3. 62 percent say SaaS applications give business stakeholders more ownership of key applications

4. 69 percent say their companies still work primarily with on-premise applications

5. 88 percent report challenges with SaaS business applications; 67 percent report issues integrating data between applications

6. 37 percent say IT has been asked to take ownership for solutions purchased without their input

7. 74 percent say having data from their SaaS applications in a common BI solution would add value. The biggest potential benefits of SaaS BI include easier access to data currently in application silos (54 percent), increased visibility (46 percent) and faster deployment (42 percent).

Lastly, a noteworthy trend for CIOs and their IT organizations to observe:  for  cloud applications the largest adoption rate for collaborative cloud applications is awarded to applications that help organizations bridge the data divide between operations and finance.

Dashboards that help both operations and finance see their data in a more structured, collaborative, and reliable manner have a clear advantage over those that do not offer this capability.

Cross-posted from CIOZone

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