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“There will be a trend towards more industry-specific implementation – because more and more companies are recognizing that plain vanilla doesn’t work for everyone.”
Mette Ahorlu, IDC Research Director

“Tomorrow’s CIOS will be buyers not Builders.”

Mette Ahorlu, IDC Research Director, European Services, on why many organizations still have reservations about the cloud, how service providers can reassure them, and the changing role of CIOs.
Mette Ahorlu
Ms. Ahorlu, cloud computing is still considered one of the less secure sourcing options.
Why is this?
People look at the cloud from many angles – as a network, as a data center and as a data storage facility. There are security issues relating to all of these elements which, of course, creates concerns about the overall integrity of the cloud. In the past, when companies outsourced their IT, they still had the feeling that they were in control. Today, there are a lot of unknowns: you don’t know who has access to your data, who you are sharing server space with, how well protected from loss, theft and manipulation it is. Another concern is how enterprises can get out of the cloud again – without incurring high costs or their data diminishing in value.
What role can consulting services play in helping a company choose the right route to the cloud?
Consulting professionals have vast experience. They can deliver the skills and expertise required to make an indepth analysis of the clients’ existing applications and suggest which ones are suited for cloud from a security, a technology and a business-case perspective. And they take a systematic approach and deploy specialist tools. To remain competitive, service providers need to deliver improved consulting offerings and honest advice. Companies can definitely benefit from the expertise of an external partner – particularly when it comes to drawing up cloud strategies and roadmaps. Professional service providers can also help organizations make the necessary changes to their business to ensure they get the most out of the cloud.
Mobility, collaboration, security-as-a-service: what would you expect to see delivered via the cloud in the near future? Would users like to see more complex applications?
I think we’ll see a lot of new developments here. We’re currently noticing an increase in the use of productivity tools from the cloud. The next big things are likely to be testing and business intelligence solutions. In the longer term, we expect to see people migrating their core ERP systems to the cloud. And there will be a trend towards more industry-specific implementation – because more and more companies are recognizing that plain vanilla doesn’t work for everyone. Big data analysis is something we’re also hearing a lot about right now – and something users would like to leverage from the cloud in the future.
What will happen when the cloud hype dies down? When will the cloud become a commodity?
People will stop talking about the cloud but it will not disappear from our lives. In fact, it will grow in significance as a delivery model and become an accepted, integral part of modern IT. I think we can expect the hype to last throughout 2012. But I predict that by the end of 2013, we’ll be hearing the word ‘cloud’ a lot less.
How will the role of the CIO change in the future?
Traditionally, CIOs built IT. But tomorrow’s CIOs will be buyers not builders – procuring IT solutions as services rather than creating them. They will be enablers and much more business-focused. Their role will be to procure, integrate, manage and outsource in a way that supports business growth.
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