Saturday, 22nd January 2011
Tim Buckley Owen
Cloud computing and software as a service continue to exercise chief information officers, responsible for corporate IT services – not least because budgets are getting tighter. Whatever solutions result, information managers will want to be sure they actually meet their needs.
Cloud computing is the top technology priority for CIOs in 2011, according to a worldwide survey conducted by Gartner Executive Programs in the latter part of last year. Interesting, that – since it was only a year earlier that Gartner was saying that cloud computing was at the top of its hype cycle and about to enter the ‘trough of disillusionment’ (see Jennifer Smith’s LiveWire posting at http://www.vivavip.com/go/e26680 for more on this).
Be that as it may, Gartner’s current survey reveals that, faced with modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements, CIOs are looking to newer lighter weight technologies – such as cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS) and social networks – to allow them greater emphasis on growth and strategic impact. Until recently, the average IT department devoted 66% of its budget to day-to-day operations, Gartner reports; by contrast the introduction of internet service-based technologies should release 35-50% of infrastructure and resource for innovation and growth (http://digbig.com/5bdfxg).
Fine if they get it right, focusing their resources on business critical services – but a new report from Ovum, Exploiting IT Management as a Service, sounds a warning note. CIOs should only implement SaaS if are clear about the business outcome they want to achieve and aren’t swayed by industry hype – otherwise they risk finding that the long term outcomes are ‘more expensive, slower and worse’ (http://digbig.com/5bdfxh).
Any such outcomes could clearly impact on the quality of services provided elsewhere in the enterprise. So information managers have good reason for taking a close interest in their CIOs’ decisions.
In The Future of Cloud Computing (http://digbig.com/5bdfxj), Hewlett-Packard’s research arm HP Labs sets out the key elements it believes are required to enable an ‘everything as a service’ economy. Intriguingly, one of them is ‘novel consumer and enterprise services for the cloud’ – and the report offers some examples.
The content generated from social networking sites remains largely untapped, it suggests, but HP has been demonstrating a service that analyses the allocation of attention within social media to predict real-world outcomes. It claims to have analysed Tweets to forecast movie box office revenues, and YouTube and Digg content viewing and voting patterns to predict the popularity of submissions 30 days ahead.
How interested you are in who’s watching whose piano-playing cat on YouTube is a moot point. But more useful applications won’t work either unless all HP’s other key elements have been attended to – the right infrastructure, plus enterprise-grade scalability, security and quality of service.
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