silicon.com speakeasy: IT chiefs talk private clouds, security and what they want from suppliers...
Cloud computing is rapidly moving from marketing hot air to concrete business strategy: industry bodies, governments and individual organisations are testing and rolling out cloud-based services in increasing numbers.
But behind the technology trials remain a broader set of questions that CIOs have to answer about the impact that new ways of delivering IT have on their organisation and even their roles as managers. At silicon.com's recent speakeasy event in London, IT chiefs discussed these issues with an audience of business and IT executives.
What does cloud computing mean for the CIO?
For Nic Bellenberg, IT director at Hachette Filipacchi UK, cloud computing has two sides: the negatives of hype, cloud-washing and security fears, and the positives of agility. "I think of a pithy definition. It's something like a series of IT-enabled capabilities that are offered as a service and it's those three words which are key in my mind," he told the audience at the event.
For Stephen Potter, CIO at World-Check, the idea of "having flexibility, scalability, elasticity delivered as a service" could be a "key differentiator".
But beyond the technical potential of cloud computing, there is also the impact on the day-to-day role of the CIO and the workings of the IT department which have to be taken into account.
"I think you have to think about what that means for the IT department," Potter said.
For the CIO, the reality of life two or three years ago might have revolved around email or the CRM system but Potter said this is no longer an issue: "I don't think about that any more. I have virtually no one on my team thinking about that any more. I spend much more of my time thinking about IT that can drive the business forward, which is really what I should be doing."
But this shift in emphasis - and in the types of jobs done by an IT department - will have an impact on workers. "I think it's wrong to underestimate the impact. I think for the IT department as a whole, cloud is really and truly a disruptive innovation," Potter said.
"It speaks to a change in the role of the CIO. I think the idea of CIOs running vast armies of IT staff is a bit in the past. We become much more focused on...