Singapore CIOs cynical about cloud

Compared with their counterparts in region, more IT decision makers in the country say cloud is over-hyped but still have plans to adopt such services, according to Springboard Research.

SINGAPORE--CIOs surveyed in the country seem more cynical about the cloud compared with their regional counterparts, but they still have plans to adopt cloud services, according to a new study by Springboard Research.

Michael Barnes, Springboard's Asia-Pacific vice president of software search, told ZDNet Asia that 60 percent of Singapore IT decision makers said the cloud was overhyped, while 37 percent of counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region echoed similar views.

This could in part be due to the focus vendors in the country have placed on cloud initiatives, as well as moves by the Singapore government to embrace the deployment platform, Barnes said in interview Tuesday to discuss the survey results.

The government last month had announced plans to pursue, among other infocomm projects, cloud initiatives next year, including a project slated for 2012 that will set up a centralized inbox for citizens, called OneInbox. This will be linked to government service portals and will form the main online interface for interactions with government agencies.

At the launch of an IBM cloud facility in May this year, the Singapore government also commented on its aspirations to promote cloud computing adoption in the country and had issued a call for cloud-based projects on its Web site.

Explaining the survey results, Barnes said "it's human nature" for people to need time to digest all the information before they start making plans to translate that information into actual deployment.

While the CIOs had expressed reservations, he noted that compared with a similar survey carried out last year, the proportion of respondents who have made moves or established plans to go to the cloud has doubled. Some 16 percent of local companies said they already have cloud deployments and another 28 percent indicated plans to do so.

These figures are similar across the region where 19 percent said they have cloud deployments and 26 percent had plans to follow suit.

This means 55 percent of CIOs still have no plans to go to the cloud, Barnes said, noting that it is then up to vendors to translate the "overall goodness of the cloud" to real-life business scenarios in order to demonstrate the benefits of adopting cloud services.

He added that the increase in proportion of companies looking at cloud deployments is set to continue growing.

"Extrapolating that figure, in 18 months, we may see the vast majority including cloud deployments in their plans.

"The cloud is just another sourcing option, and it is the responsibility of IT departments to choose the best option for the business so that includes at least considerations for the cloud," he said.

Finding business case for cloud
The survey also revealed that the primary reason cited for going to the cloud was to cut down infrastructure costs. Another common reason was to ease application or service deployment.

In another survey conducted by Springboard last year, two-thirds of enterprises in the region said cloud computing was "not relevant" to their business, with most saying they were familiar with the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery method but not the overall concept of the cloud.

Barnes added that vendors are also rallying to drive adoption.

"The marketplace is helping to bridge the gap with CIOs' understanding of the cloud," he said, citing Microsoft as an example of a large vendor, which go-to-market cloud strategy has become clearer over the past 12 months.

Barnes had said last year that Microsoft was "struggling the most" in terms of figuring out its position in cloud computing.

"It's hard to find a large vendor without a cloud strategy," he said. "It may not be their main go-to-market model but it's one they recognize is viable because the market wants it."

VMware's Asean general manager, Ed Lenta, said during his presentation at Springboard's Cloud Asia conference here Tuesday that the availability of outsourcing options via the cloud is also putting pressure on IT departments to adapt.

Using Amazon Web Services as an example, Lenta said users are now presented with a way to deploy compute power on-the-fly with a credit card and will question why they cannot have the same flexibility with their company's IT systems.

"CIOs need to recognize that they need to offer such user-centric models, or users will [find ways to] go around their offerings and policies," he said.