August 5, 2015

Cloud Opening: Opportunities and Risks of Cloud Delivered Services

CIO Strategy Exchange, New York, 2013

This is the fifth CIOSE Report tracking disruptive change. This time, we focus on the latest upheaval impacting the computer industry directly – as well as almost every other business sector.

For traditional enterprises, the pressure comes from competitors or upstarts less burdened by legacies and sufficiently agile to seize green field opportunities. They are capable of wounding attacks through that agility and grasp of the consumerization so successfully fostered by Amazon, Apple and Google. Mindfully but impatiently, senior management in traditional companies expects IT to demonstrate similar agility. And many CIOSE enterprises are responding effectively and appropriately. Cloud delivery has helped.

Cloud Opening weighs in on externally delivered services from our members’ perspective and from various worthies in the industry. The warm-up that follows lays out our questions – which our CIOSE friends answered in successive chapters. Their insights were fresh and rewarding, as you’ll read.

  1. Member Experiences: What criteria are most often used to select cloud-based services? Are results meeting expectations? Here, we separately consider Infrastructure-as-a-Service(IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service(PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service(SaaS). Which are the winners in our crowd? Which are still too fragile in terms of security, functionality, scalability, availability and latency to meet the needs of major enterprises? What other considerations may be blocking or accelerating growth?
  2. Governance: Are cloud-delivered services altering the decision-making balance between IT organizations and end users? Must the methodologies for technical assessment change as companies rebalance their systems’ inventory from on-premise infrastructure and licensed applications? What’s the long-term budget impact of pay-as-you-go billing? What’s the best IT response to freemium offerings? How is accountability affected when external cloud providers bill users directly – rather than having IT allocate charges back to users?
  3. IT Organizational Evolution: What traditional IT occupations become obsolete as clouds percolate through organizations? Conversely, what skills are now in great demand? Will cloud delivery eventually threaten the strategic value enterprise IT organizations provide? Will ITers become the boiler tenders, striving below the decks to maintain legacy ERP and similar systems? Or will ITers evolve into top-side navigators of outside services and captains of data consistency and integrity?