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CIOs Optimistic but Cautious about the Cloud

An independent survey of nearly 350 CIOs’ and IT executives’ attitudes about cloud adoption, trends, value, and challenges reveals strong optimism about current and future benefits of cloud computing.

Survey participants believe the “adoption of cloud technologies is good for business” (92 percent), though IT executives are more enthusiastic than are IT managers. Participants believe the technologies help IT deliver better systems for less money (the familiar “value” proposition -- at 67 percent), and “SaaS applications give business stakeholders more ownership of key applications” (62 percent)

Despite that optimism, rollout of cloud technologies is still somewhat slow, Host Analytics, the survey’s sponsor, points out. “Only 31 percent described their systems as primarily cloud-based at this time,” while 69 percent say their company “still work[s] primarily with on-premise applications.” For those enterprises where cloud is deployed, the majority (88 percent) reported some IT adoption challenges; 12 percent said they faced no challenges (lucky them). I found it interesting that 96 percent of IT managers -- those managing the actual cloud work -- reported challenges.

The top complaint: integrating application data (67 percent), followed by concerns about knowing “where our data is” (39 percent) and difficulty developing workflows across applications (34 percent).

IT is the biggest user of cloud-based applications (67 percent of enterprises report having a cloud-based application in their IT department); the sales department comes next at 36 percent, followed closely by customer support at 35 percent.

One benefit of the cloud shines bright for more than half (54 percent) of respondents: SaaS business intelligence would provide “easier access to data currently in application silos;” 46 percent believe SaaS BI would increase visibility. Faster deployment was expected from 42 percent of survey participants.

In one troublesome trend, 37 percent of IT executives report being asked to assume ownership for solutions purchased without their input. Sound familiar? If you think data integration is tough without IT input and examination, imagine the headache of integrating data from applications dumped in your lap. (True, it’s similar to the problems of integrating data as a result of mergers and acquisitions -- where data resides in applications over which you had no input -- but in this case, the situation is preventable.)

The survey was conducted in May by Dimensional Research, which asked “an independent group of CIOs, IT executives, and other IT professionals to participate in a Web survey on the topic of cloud adoption and trends.” Most respondents (86 percent) were located in U.S. and Canada, the remainder in the EMEA and APAC regions. Results can be downloaded here, though a short registration is required.

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 06/25/2012 at 11:53 AM