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CIOs must fit the cloud into IT strategy

Thor Olavsrud | March 5, 2012
Cloud computing is quickly going from promise and potential to practical applications, and CIOs who haven't already considered what cloud means for their business better step up. That was the consensus of panelists at a roundtable discussion hosted by IntraLinks on Thursday.

That was the consensus of six panelists brought together by information exchange solutions specialist IntraLinks in a roundtable discussion Thursday morning at the Gabarron Foundation in New York City.

Sultan Khan, Global IT Strategy & Governance Practice Head, Tata Consultancy Services, shares his thoughts at the IntraLinks roundtable. From left: David Goodman, Fahim Siddiqui, Philip Jacob, Sultan Khan and Ari Lightman.

The Promise of Cloud Computing

"You think about technology waves, and every once in a while you get one that you know is meaningful, that actually changes the way companies spend their money and invest in solutions; it actually changes the way the tech industry itself is shaped, and cloud computing is one of those things clearly," said Ted Schadler, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research, who moderated the panel.

"I got interested initially in cloud because of the pricing model: the fact that I could potentially buy capacity as I needed it and pay for it as OpEx instead of CapEx," he said. "That essentially lowers the bar for innovation because I can build something quickly and deploy it quickly. This is a hugely important phenomenon in cloud."

"It was also a major driver of open source, where if I could get a server for free in Linux and deploy it, I could as a developer actually try something out," he said. "The cloud just took that and blew it out on steroids. There's probably not a single startup that comes through my office, and probably not through yours, that isn't deploying on cloud infrastructure. They might keep the customer database in their own data center, but all their storage and all their compute sits on Amazon or it sits on Rackspace or it sits out there somewhere in the cloud. That is a huge opportunity for innovation, for things that change the way companies work together. You see this now reflected in the investments of the major infrastructure providers. You also see it reflected in the growth of companies like Salesforce and Google. Google Apps for Business, Google Apps for Government, that's a billion dollar business today."

Schadler noted that Forrester's discussions with CIOs indicates that cloud computing is a top of mind consideration for most. And he said that most organizations are not looking to the cloud as a method of cost management, but for "extension"-the capability to take their business in new directions faster.

Sultan Khan, Global IT Strategy & Governance Practice Head at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), agreed.

"What we're seeing is that every CIO is thinking, talking and doing something about cloud, clearly with a very reasonable degree of maturity," he said. "We recently conducted a survey with our clients and found that 10 percent or less of the cloud-based solutions are actually out in the public space. Today, close to 90 percent of the solutions sets are being developed within the internal cloud space. What is interesting is when you ask them about where they are going by 2015, a lot of them see that ratio being 30 percent or so in the public service space. There is a definite shift towards not only cloud, but also taking it from the inside to the outside."


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