Rogue IT (or Shadow IT) has been a bogeyman in IT circles for years, but new research from the nonprofit Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) suggests that business units increasingly find it important to keep IT in the loop, even as their power to purchase their own IT solutions is growing.
Cloud Computing / Case studies
Citrix CIO Paul Martine is the poster child for everything that Citrix markets to other CIOs.
You have to be a masochist to want to be an IT person,'' says Robert Carter. And he would know. Carter is the soft-spoken, hard-driving CIO who has been fighting for the past 11 years to transform IT operations at FedEx, where "the planes don't fly and trucks don't roll without IT services.''
While there’s no free-wheeling IT spending going on (unless you’re hiding that information), our annual State of the CIO research confirms the rumour: The Great Recession has indeed abated.
Heading into 2011, many CIOs are investing in projects to improve staff productivity, make business processes more efficient and promote innovation. These transformational and strategic activities signal that the retrenchment that ruled the past two years is, thankfully, over.
Contract negotiation skills are one of the top three required abilities for information security professionals dealing with cloud computing, according to new research.
This is one finding highlighted in early survey results from the 2011 (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) conducted by industry analysts Frost & Sullivan and covering more than 100 countries.
It's always a challenge for IT departments to anticipate how corporate technical demands will evolve, especially when IT budgets have been as tight as a drum for two years.
How do you "do more with less" and prepare for an explosion in bandwidth demand, a need to upgrade both software and hardware, and employees asking that work data be available on their personal smartphones?
If you want to understand the key driver of the cloud computing revolution, you owe it to yourself to read Microsoft's new white paper The Economics of the Cloud. In it, authors Rolf Harms and Michael Yamartino lay out an analysis of the economics that underlie cloud computing, and demonstrate in a convincing fashion why the shift to this new technology platform is inevitable. A copy of the paper is available as a download from the blog posting by the authors.
After a brief introduction, the authors lay out a central thesis: despite initial concerns about shortcomings in new technology offerings, "historically, underlying economics have a much stronger impact on the direction and speed of disruptions, as technological challenges are resolved or overcome through the rapid innovation we've grown accustomed to."
Despite all the talk about cloud computing, there are no standards for integrating cloud computing systems. Do you see that as a big challenge for CIOs?
It’s true that there are no universal management solutions for integrating public cloud resources with the internal assets located within a company’s existing data centre. We are still in the very early stages of public cloud computing. There is a variety of emerging public cloud providers and each one has its own architecture, operating model, pricing, etc. I think it’s premature to expect management standards to exist anytime soon but I don’t think that’s necessarily a deterrent to leveraging the capabilities of the public providers.
Cloud computing represents a disruptive idea, or business model innovation, and a disruptive technology to virtually all of the players in the IT market space.
What is a disruptive business model innovation? A disruptive business model or technology innovation that upsets established markets often first appears as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
To get a grip on cloud computing, try to think of how people make decisions on public transport, suggests Steve Hodgkinson, research director, public sector at analyst firm Ovum.
Cloud computing is like a menu of transport options for organisations, he told CIO New Zealand during a recent visit in Auckland. “What we have now is a range of different transport options and they can think more creatively about their business needs.”
Virtualising your servers saved you money. There was no question about that. Organisations that moved to virtualised environments reduced their footprint and shrank energy bills, while also enjoying a reduction in maintenance and management requirements.
But the players that took servers into the brave new world of virtualisation are finding it a lot harder to justify the same model for desktops on the same monetary basis.
Like the wider marketplace, the security landscape is ever-changing, with new nasties popping up every minute.
According to some analysts, digital threats have increased up to fivefold. Not surprisingly, security is a top-of-mind issue for CIOs and their C-suite colleagues. A recently concluded CIO Asia survey on IT security in the Asia Pacific found that, despite the quieter economic conditions, enterprises here spent up to 10 per cent more safeguarding themselves in 2009 than in the year before.
Every revolution results in winners and losers - after the dust settles. During the revolution, chaos occurs as people attempt to discern if this is the real thing or just a minor rebellion. All parties put forward their positions, attempting to convince onlookers that theirs is the path forward. Meanwhile, established practices and institutions are disrupted and even overturned - perhaps temporarily or maybe permanently. Eventually, the results shake out and it becomes clear which viewpoint prevails and becomes the new established practice - and in its turn becomes the incumbent, ripe for disruption.
This is true in technology as in every other domain. In the tech business, we often get caught up in focusing on vendor winners and losers. Point to the client/server revolution, and it's obvious - Microsoft and Intel. Over on the loser side stand the minicomputer vendors. This winner/loser phenomenon can be seen in every significant technology shift (and indeed, one shift's winner can become a future loser). This is understandable: we all love conflict and the vendor wars make for great press.
Around the table
Cloud computing is an unfortunate moniker in an industry like information technology, which has been accused of selling fluffy promises. But beyond the hype, it is likely to be remembered as the most significant IT trend of this decade.
Definitions vary wildly but the basic premise of the cloud is that it delivers software applications and hardware capacity as services via the internet.
Tucked between arctic air currents and hot desert winds, Melburnians know that if they wait long enough, stormy skies turn to golden afternoons. Unlike Brisbane, with its heatwaves that last for weeks, or Sydney and its frequently rainy winters, Melbourne’s weather can switch from balmy to blizzard and back in 24 hours.
A Melburnian born and bred, Telstra chief information officer John McInerney knows how to wait for the weather to turn. He began working for the national telco in 2003, two years before the appointment of Sol Trujillo as chief executive precipitated a deluge of North Americans.
CIOs have to brace themselves for unprecedented pressures in the next four years, which will make the changes of the past two decades seem mild.
This is the brief of a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) report on ‘the next generation CIO’, which covered 667 senior executives.
Finance departments must be involved in major procurement decisions, to make sure the business case is done properly. They need to set aside CAPEX allocations and understand the ongoing consequences for OPEX budgets. They need to know what the new system can do for them (if anything), and how the new system will integrate with existing systems of record in the company.
Whether your finance department is a one-man band or a big organisation, they need to understand how SaaS applications (and particularly Salesforce CRM) change a lot of the financial assumptions. What issues do you need to think about? What new decisions will you have to make? How should you measure success? Here are some CFO guidelines for making better decisions. While much of this article applies to any SaaS CRM system, we've focused here on the specifics of Salesforce.com.
A recent academic study identified at least 22 definitions of "cloud computing" in common use, from the broad notion of using the internet to access any sort of managed technology services (a.k.a. SaaS or software as a service) to the wide-eyed optimist's view that a diverse, powerful lineup of cloud services will be delivered in real time by crash-proof distributed servers "without complicated deployment worries."
The sorry economy is prompting more CIOs to explore cloud computing and its cost-cutting promise, says Doug Tracy, former global CTO for Rolls-Royce. "But it's still an idea that a lot of people don't know a whole lot about."
Businesses are constantly looking to their CIOs for ways to improve the cost effectiveness of their IT systems, especially in these trying economic times. As a consequence, some businesses look to rationalise their software licensing and support costs by moving to a SaaS (software as a service) supplier or some other similar outsourcing model.
As we know, SaaS usually involves accessing the agreed software via the internet, often on a real time basis. This is distinct from more traditional software licensing, where an object code version of the software is installed on servers or other equipment operated by the customer. Depending on the circumstances - the type of software and the supplier’s pricing - the SaaS model can be more cost effective as customers can sign up to pay for only what they use, when they use it, while the costs associated with variable numbers of users can also be a benefit. In contrast, the more traditional licensing models often involve a degree of cost redundancy due to being structured around enterprise-wide pricing models; or designated equipment pricing models; or an agreed number of user models. Even if there are actual or perceived financial gains from making this switch – there are also some risks depending on the nature of the software and how it is used.