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Cloud computing: What CIOs need to know about integration

Kim S. Nash | May 18, 2010
There are no standards for integrating cloud computing systems

Money Isn't Everything

Cloud vendors may have technology and pricing that appeal to cost-cutters, but some vendors haven't yet figured out how to be business partners with CIOs who aren't looking only to save money, says Steve Cranford, a managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

CIOs considering ways to improve operations, generate revenue and find competitive advantage don't just want to hand over critical systems to cloud vendors simply to lower costs, says Cranford, who consults with CIOs building business intelligence and data-management systems. Some CIOs want cloud vendors to consult with them about bigger goals, including integrating competing cloud systems with each other and merging cloud systems with those on-premise. Cloud providers are taking some steps toward providing this capability. Amazon, for example, works with Capgemini to help CIOs evaluate cloud offerings. Verizon offers "vendor-neutral" cloud consulting. But consulting is not central to cloud vendors' business models, Cranford says--at least, not yet. "Most cloud providers are heavy technology companies--speeds, feeds and firewalls."

Colburn, who has piloted some cloud applications, agrees. "We're seeing maturity issues with some of the product lines," he says. "We and they have to walk before we run."


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