Longer Term Implications of Cloud for Organisations & CIO’s

Whether to transition an organisation to cloud based SaaS platforms and if so which provider/s to chose is a question on the mind of many CIO’s. Operationally there should be a checklist of common cloud transition issues that is addressed first.

However in the bigger picture how many of these CIO’s are thinking beyond the obvious short term benefits like shifting spending from capex to opex, to the longer term organisational implications of what is gained and lost by choosing cloud services?

For example changes in patterns of expenditure is one area that is sometimes forgotten when considering cloud based solutions. Inhouse spending on IT infrastructure and staff is an area CIO’s and CFO’s are used to keeping track of.

However usage of cloud services is more abstract, extra costs will be borne by the organisation during any transitional period and service/subscription based charges based on the level of usage can result in unexpected issues eg: running out of monthly API calls during peak periods when many staff are generating reports from the CRM.

Even providers of cloud services are reconsidering what they offer, with AWS recently moving up the value chain by launching a marketplace of applications including offerings from CeBIT exhibitors CA Technologies and IBM.
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Survivor: CIO Edition

CA technologies recently released a report ‘The Future Role of the CIO’ which highlights that Australian CIOs believe cloud computing can position them to be CEOs.

Interestingly 57% of Australian CIO’s surveyed believe that cloud computing is shifting their focus away from technology onto vital business services, increasing their chances of promotion to CEO.

However on a cautionary note, although 70% of Australian CIOs feel ideally positioned to move specifically to the CEO role the reality is 4% of current global CEOs have risen to this role after previously being a CIO.

“There’s no doubt that cloud computing is revolutionising business particularly in these strained economic times. But it’s also breeding a new type of technology leader – one who understands that by using the cloud to innovate, increase speed to market and reduce costs in providing strategic business services, he or she will be in a position to make a significant impact on the business and potentially be positioned to lead it,” said Bill McMurray, Managing Director at CA Technologies Australia & New Zealand.

Martin Retschko, National Practice Director, Hudson ICT commented on the report stating that the:

“Role of the CIO is no longer purely about technology. In Australia, we are seeing that this position is evolving from the traditionally technical role of a CIO to one that is more strategic and business focused.”

“CIOs that show an understanding of, and commitment to developing the business, are much more likely to evolve beyond their traditional role”.

Andi Mann, vice president of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies has an interesting related perspective, feeling that CIO’s need to become a trusted advisor because companies today are quick to eliminate positions that don't add value.

By Andi Mann, vice president of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies

I keep hearing how cloud computing will kill the CIO. Articles, posts, and tweets claim "the CIO is dead," done in by SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, virtualization, and the increasing commoditization of IT resources. IT budgets are being cut (again!), but IT spending overall is going up, according to both IDC and Gartner.

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