Recently, I’ve written about software vendors being (or not being ready) for cloud computing. I’ve also written about large consultancies being able to support their clients as they move to the cloud. These consultancies and systems integrators are taking the cloud mainstream.
Last week, I spoke with a HP executive about the cloud and their insights into client adoption for same. One of the subjects we covered focused on the readiness of clients to adopt the cloud for some of their processing needs. Note, these aren’t HP’s words or opinions – they are exclusively mine. But, I thank the folks at HP for the illuminating conversation and the thoughts they provoked.
CIOs are clearly moving up the maturity curve re: cloud computing. The number of skeptics is diminishing while the ranks of other categories are growing. More and more CIOs are looking at using cloud based solutions for:
- specific application software needs (e.g., CRM) - application software development and testing environments - replacements/retirements of computer hardware facing obsolescence
I’m not hearing all the fear/concern over data protection. In the last year alone, the number of software vendors with SAS 70 certification has mushroomed and prospective client concerns have diminished accordingly. The current harsh budget environment makes CIOs look at cloud environments as realistic options to non-existent CAPEX budgets. This is especially true when CIOs have older servers in need of replacement or when big development projects need dedicated test and development environments. Cloud acceptance isn’t just creeping into the CIO tool chest, it might be flowing in strongly.
CIOs will need to marry their needs and business requirements with the true capabilities of cloud capability providers. I suspect that some providers offer a cloud ‘space’ and not much else. CIOs will likely need more. They’ll want to work with providers that can advise them on needed capabilities in their application portfolio, changes they’ll need to make in their applications, techniques and technologies required to make cloud apps integrate with legacy apps, etc. If a cloud provider just offers bandwidth and disk storage, their solution may be woefully inadequate.
Caveat emptor will still be the rule for those CIOs in the higher levels of maturity as the different providers are offering a wide range of cloud computing capabilities. Some offerings will not meet specific business needs.
Finally, much of the cloud conversation these days ignores the people aspects of it. IT leaders will no doubt find that their teams will need additional training and sensitivity to specific cloud technology requirements. These skill needs could upset some IT personnel while others will likely enjoy the opportunity to learn new, marketable skills.
Where’s your IT group on the cloud maturity curve?