IT Priorities: clouds forecast, but hardware reigns

Despite its hype, most Aussie respondents to the ZDNet IT Priorities survey are not venturing into the cloud anytime soon.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

Despite its hype, most Aussie respondents to the ZDNet IT Priorities survey are not venturing into the cloud anytime soon.

So, how can cloud vendors do a better selling-job? Fewer than a quarter of the respondents to ZDNet Australia's extensive 2011 survey said cloud capabilities were a top or major consideration when choosing an IT vendor, placing it well down the criteria list. When it came time for replacing hardware or peripherals, a third said the cloud was something they'd consider as important (see graph). So, while it's clearly on the agenda, there are many other factors more pressing and, right now, it seems that most IT folk would buy a new box of their own before using someone else's.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

There's a lesson in these figures for vendors: if you're selling a cloud solution, promote the mobility and cost advantages of that cloud solution. The two go hand-in-hand, of course. The more people accessing corporate applications and data on the move, outside your physical network, the more expensive it becomes to serve those people. Cloud vendors should be focusing on the cost advantages of a centralised model. But don't get too worried about the "capex versus opex" argument, commonly bandied about by the on-demand crowd. As the figures show, it's the total cost that counts, not how it's divided on the balance sheet.

So, given all the hype, why is cloud computing not embraced by more? Why do IT types insist on buying more hardware (other than the obvious aspect of hanging onto their jobs)?

Well, to a great extent it's based on strategic IT objectives. This second chart compares the priority placed on various IT objectives by those embracing the cloud versus those who said it would be given little or no consideration. Compared to the average of all respondents, those with a cloud focus are far more likely to be pursuing a strategy involving a mobile workforce than those who are studiously avoiding the cloud.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

The figures in brackets after each priority indicates the average across all responses — so process efficiency is the highest priority — rating 68 per cent overall, rising to a massive 85 per cent amongst cloud thinkers. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Embracing the cloud involves a fundamental rethink about how you do things, so if you are doing the hard work of process re-engineering it makes sense to build it around a cloud solution. Those who like to do things the way they always have will see less impetus to make the switch.

What's interesting about this second chart, though, is that those pursuing a cloud strategy have ranked all IT priorities higher than those who are not. It's almost as though respondents fit into two camps: those with a lot to do and those who don't. So, there's another tip for the cloud vendor: keep a sharp eye out for the IT person who looks busy.

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