HP: CFOs interested in cloud but hesitant

CFOs in Singapore attracted to cloud for cost savings but hesitant because of concerns such as governance issues, says Hewlett-Packard exec.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Local CFOs are "very interested" in cloud computing for its cost saving benefits but are still worried about governance issues as well as "shadow IT", says Hewlett-Packard executive.

During a press briefing Thursday, Kelly Tan, managing director and vice president of global sales at HP Singapore, said CFOs were worried about cloud governance issues such as the capability to move from one cloud vendor to another if they decide to switch.

Her anecdotal finding was backed by a study conducted by Coleman Parkes Research which found that compliance and governance concerns were among the top three barriers to the adoption of cloud computing for Asia-Pacific firms. Released in February 2012, the HP-commissioned study titled "HP Research: The Future of Cloud" found security worries as the top barrier, ahead of transformation concerns.

Another worry for CFOs is the rise of "shadow IT" where employees would buy cloud services from outside the organization without informing the management, she said. While the services might improve business agility, it would also expose the company's data to third-party cloud providers creating governance issues, she added.

Achieving a standardized environment
HP has faced a similar issue before, she noted. Eight years ago, the company was running more than 6,000 different applications. The number shrunk to about 2,000 apps after an IT transformation during which it had to manage different SLAs (service-level agreements), she said.

The ideal state would be a homogeneous, standardized environment that can be managed easily and where apps can be transferred back-and-forth between systems whether it is on-premise or provided by third parties, she noted.

HP hopes to achieve this state with the "converged cloud", a framework which allows companies to combine their traditional IT infrastructure, private, hybrid and public clouds together in a common architecture.

"Nobody will say: 'I only want a private cloud.' At some point in time, they might want a hybrid cloud or a public cloud for things that are not confidential in nature," she said.

"We're trying to drive a common architecture that promotes interoperability. For other vendors, they don't comment on this which means that once you buy them, you're locked in a sense," she said.

She added that HP has launched vertical-targeted cloud services for the digital media industry and aerospace industry in Singapore. HP provides not only computing services but also services that are relevant to their industry such as pay-per-use digital rendering service for the digital media market, she noted. This year, they hope to move beyond the two verticals to others such as government.

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