Cloud Computing

Keith Tilley (UK) - Why UK CIOs Remain Wary of Cloud Hype - Part 2

No technological concept has elicited more hype, and in turn more confusion, than cloud computing - Gartner recently declared the volume of noise being generated around the cloud as ‘deafening' in its latest hype cycle. If you believe everything you hear, 2011 is set to be the year that will define cloud adoption across Europe as this revolutionary approach to IT offers endless opportunities for businesses willing to remove the IT headaches of the past.

Yet it is precisely this confusion that is threatening cloud to become no more than over inflated re-packaging of an existing IT model. Are CIOs buying into this hype and what has been stopping it from already becoming mainstream?

Our recently conducted research, in conjunction with Vanson Bourne, questioned 250 UK CIOs about their perspectives on cloud computing. The findings highlighted that 71% of CIOs want greater insight into the means of data protection within cloud offerings. For example, 66% want more information on data security credentials and 45% want more detail on pricing models. A more thorough education is needed from those providing cloud technology, so that CIOs and enterprises are clear about the potential benefits it can offer.

While businesses are open to exploiting the cloud's potential, they're not willing to give up on control over costing or the security and resilience of their data. Data in particular is an understandably great concern for CIOs, who are under increasing pressure to ensure information is always available to the organisation, as data continues to grow at an alarming rate. And the reality is that, for most organisations, moving their IT infrastructure into the hands of a third party carries real risk.

Ultimately, the research clearly shows that while the IT landscape may have changed over recent years, the most pressing concerns of CIOs have not. While the technology platforms, or indeed the way such platforms are deployed and implemented have evolved, the decision-making around investment in the cloud is founded upon the same considerations that companies have always had when sourcing their IT. The questions CIOs ask of cloud vendors are exactly the same as they always have been:

  • Do they have the heritage and credentials to deliver what's required?
  • Do they have proven success with other deployments?
  • How strong are their service and support platforms?
  • Will current and future projects deliver Return on Investment?
  • What will the Total Cost of Ownership be?
  • Do they - and does their technology - have the ability to scale with my business?

These issues will continue to remain on the CIO agenda, and suppliers need to adapt and address this. However, some responsibility also has to fall on the prospective customers themselves, who have to ask the tough questions of cloud providers to get exactly the information they want. Without this to hand, it's hardly surprising that the full capabilities of the technology are not being understood and that it's still seen as overhyped. Through a better communication and understanding of cloud computing, and if organisations are savvy about the choices they make, there's no reason that this hype can't be replaced with potential and the predicted impact upon the business landscape can't be realised.

The white paper, 'Cloud - Challenges and Opportunities for the C-Suite', based upon the research findings may be obtained here.

Keith Tilley, managing director UK and executive vice president Europe for SunGard Availability Services






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