Cloud computing busts silos to help the CIO

New research shows that cloud offers IT a means to communicate with users, be responsive, and gain relevancy.

A survey of IT leaders regarding their expectations of cloud computing, sponsored by Tata Communications, offers unsurprising, perhaps obvious, conclusions. Despite the boring data, an exciting truth does emerge - cloud can help make the CIO and IT more relevant to the business.

Cloud Watching
Image: Cloud watching by Michael Krigsman

For this report, market researchers, Vanson Bourne, "conducted a total of 1000 interviews with senior IT decision-makers in private organisations of 500 employees or more," during September and October 2014. Although the report mentions "interviews," it appears these were online survey responses rather than face-to-face interviews:

Interviews were conducted online using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

The stated goal of the survey is measuring adoption of cloud computing and determining whether business decision-makers have realized expected benefits from their use of cloud.

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Some key findings [PDF download]:

  • 97 percent of respondents say their organization has adopted cloud to some extent
  • 28 percent of the data storage in respondents' organizations is in the cloud today
  • 68 percent say that moving to the cloud involved individuals outside IT
  • 90 percent say that requests from other departments influenced the decision to implement cloud computing
  • 86 percent say that cloud computing has lived up to, or exceeded, the hype

Largely, these findings confirm what we already know: almost everyone is using the cloud. More interesting is the fact that 28 percent of respondents' corporate data is stored in the cloud today. However, only 2 percent are storing this data in a public or hybrid cloud.

From these numbers, we can make a clear interpretation: cloud computing is increasingly an integral part of the IT landscape. However, many companies are still learning, experimenting, and testing the waters. Private cloud offers a natural stepping-stone to broader cloud adoption, so the progression to greater use of public cloud (and hybrid) is inevitable.

The ability to drive organizational change is one of the least understood aspects of cloud computing. The survey explains that cloud computing is a team effort, involving departments outside of IT:

Traditionally, if an organisation intended to make a significant change or investment in their approach to IT, this would largely be done by the IT department in isolation. Cloud computing breaks this trend: the research shows that it is rare for a move to the cloud to be solely an IT department's doing.

As these graphs show, cloud computing is a silo-busting team activity. Knowing that other departments want to be involved in making decisions about the cloud gives CIOs and IT an excellent opportunity to foster dialog among business users.

Cloud computing busts silos

In a world where IT continues to fight for strategic relevance, cloud offers an ideal vehicle for the CIO to develop a dialog with users. These discussions will inevitably become a foundation of relevancy for the CIO.

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