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June 25, 2013

CIO concerns over IT are smothering the cloud

As many as 81% of CIOs believe their own ICT architecture is the greatest hurdle to cloud adoption, a study sponsored by NTT Europe, has found.

By Duncan Macrae

The report, based on a survey of 300 CIOs and senior IT professionals, further revealed that more than half (58%) of respondents believe the complexity of their existing IT estate is holding up their implementation of cloud computing platforms. This complexity is compounded by the continued use of legacy IT platforms – on average, just over a quarter (28%) of respondents’ infrastructure is described as legacy IT.

The research also suggests that the cloud is being used more as a tactical bolt-on to existing IT services than a strategic ICT platform for the business. About two thirds (65%) of businesses that use cloud are using three or fewer cloud platforms, and over two thirds (68%) of respondents admit they have only been using cloud applications for less than two years.

Damian Skendrovic, VP Cloud Services, NTT Europe said: "We can deduce from our findings that cloud is largely restricted to test and development, and software as a service (SaaS).

"IT leaders have held back from putting their business engine in the cloud – the suites of core applications and data that lie at the heart of the organisation. They are concerned that cloud providers do not appreciate the complexity of their legacy ICT estate and fear migration may not be successful."

The survey found large proportions of respondents do believe in the business transformation potential of cloud computing. 40% of respondents agree that it will truly unlock their business’ potential, and almost half (49%) say the cloud could help them move into new markets.

The implication is that CIOs recognise the cloud could facilitate the close alignment of business and IT strategies. This long-standing imperative remains a key concern for the IT leaders surveyed, with over half (59%) of respondents labelling it their number one priority. Enabling ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) and remote access to business applications are also driving interest in the cloud, both stated as doing so by 46% of respondents.

Skendrovic continued: "The results show CIOs are looking for cloud solutions suitable for the ‘real world’. These solutions need to marry the old, existing, legacy systems with new applications. If CIOs are to organise their IT estates efficiently and to meet their cost and revenue objectives, getting this marriage right will be critical.

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"Each business has its own complexities but their CIOs need clouds which can take that complexity and hide it behind the dashboard. CIOs expect transparency in their systems and for the control to be taken by the provider. For their part, cloud providers need to demonstrate they can virtualise and industrialise a huge variety of IT platforms and services, and deliver them all with total security."

Kate Hanaghan, research director at TechMarketView, added: "The survey results absolutely confirm what we have been seeing in the market. Furthermore, the savvy CIO’s starting point is the line of business executives with the ultimate question being ‘how will investments we make in cloud-delivered services help us reach our business goals more efficiently and more effectively?’

"Buyers should be very wary of providers that are not able to articulate the link between their services and the business benefits, because moving to cloud services is not just a technology play. In addition, CIOs must be absolutely convinced that their providers have the capabilities to help the enterprise along its cloud journey.

"This is because the migration from traditional delivery to a hybrid cloud set-up that is fully integrated with the legacy estate can be hugely complex, and getting it wrong is not an option."

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