Opinion

Does business have its head in the cloud?

When I first saw the headline on the MicroScope story, I was pretty impressed. "Cloud to become a business conversation in 2012," it stated. According to a global study by auditors KPMG, cloud computing would no longer just be a technology conversation in 2012 but it would become a business one too.

Well, I suppose it's a question of how much a part of the business conversation it becomes. For example, if a senior executive asks someone in IT "what about this cloud computing thing then?", does that count as a business conversation?

Maybe not if you consider that, according to KPMG, of the 806 senior executives in 15 countries, up to 81% of businesses are either planning a cloud implementation, are in the early or advanced stages of experimentation or have full cloud implementations in place. Is it just me or does there seem to be quite a bit of putting together there? Would it be more informative to know just how many, for example, were still at the planning or early stages of experimentation?

In any case, KPMG found that 10-15% already run all core IT services in a cloud or are on the path to doing so. The fact that seems like quite a high number suggests cloud is doing pretty well. Commenting on the results, KPMG UK technology head Tudor Aw argued they showed cloud computing would move from being a "competitive advantage to an operational necessity".

Well, up to a point. Because the survey also noted an overwhelming number of those taking part in the survey reported they needed to be shown potential cost savings to justify a move to the cloud. To me, that doesn't sound quite like "operational necessity" just yet although it may be the case that those who have adopted cloud will find it becoming so. I think people are concentrating on saving money first and it's encouraging in that light that three-quarters of those who have made the move to cloud report they have reduced costs.

It's important not to dismiss saving costs as an important argument in favour of cloud computing in any business conversation, especially in these straitened times. In fact, with the business becoming much more focused on cost, it may well be that the perceived cost benefits of cloud computing are an important weapon in getting it front and centre of any conversation. 

This was first published in October 2011

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