About Ed Cone

Edward Cone is a managing editor in the Thought Leadership group at Oxford Economics.

Listening to cloud users

We can build so much more complex stuff when the basics that bog down deploying and maintaining servers get simplified and commoditized.

Thoughts from Dave Winer, one of the key developers of the tools behind what we now call social media, on the future of cloud services.

The full promise of cloud technology will be realized when it’s delivered the way end-users and developers want it. Getting there will require vendors to listen, not just sell.

The cloud is reshaping technology spending

Following the theme of our recent post, What the cloud does to IT, check out this report on IT spending.

The key takeaway: “Power in technology purchases shifting from CIO to CMO, CFO, VP of Sales and line executives.”

More from IDC:

The business technology spending market will grow at 6.9% 5 year CAGR from $236.6 billion in 2012 to $330.7 billion by 2017, while enterprise IT grows slowly at a 1.9% 5 year CAGR from $213.0 billion to 233.5 billion over the same forecast period.

Cloud, mobile, social, and analytics are driving the momentum in business tech spending– and obviously cloud is an enabling technology for the other three.

The positive scenario here is that business units end up with the technology they really need, when they need it. The less rosy outcome is chaos. The difference between the two will be in large part how well companies plan and execute their strategic shift to the cloud.

What the cloud does to IT

If you think about going from mainframes to minis or minis to PCs or PCs to the web or client-server, all those trends were changes and some of them scary changes, but at the end of the day, there was more percentage of GDP in IT than there was before, and there were more jobs in IT than there were before.

I think it’s natural that some people are worried about the cloud. I don’t think the role of the IT pro disappears. It will probably change in some ways. The technology will change and some of the responsibilities will change. But at the end of the day, if the cloud enables us to do more, I think there will be more jobs and there will be more needs for people as opposed to less…

…The positive thing with the cloud is that there are so many new use cases that didn’t exist before, and they actually make all of our lives better. And, again, as we become more and more digital, we are going to need more and more people to support it.

From an interview with Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise division, by the redoubtable Mary Jo Foley.

Which cloud is right for you?

“Friends don’t let friends build data centers anymore,” — Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor

The New York Times rounds up a week of big cloud news.

There’s some interesting back-and-forth in the comments section about the value of more localized/personalized services vs. the big, one-size-fits-all offerings of mega-vendors. One reader says attempting to contact a huge provider when widespread problems arise is “similar to trying to get the pope on the phone during a crisis of biblical proportions.”

Cloud migration and value survey launched

Apollo launchWe are live in the field with our survey about strategies, opportunities, and challenges related to cloud migration, which will include responses from 350 business and technology executives at companies across the United States.

While that work is underway, we’ll be conducting a series of eight in-depth interviews on the same topics. These calls will add depth and color to the statistics from the survey, providing additional heft to the series of reports to follow.

SMEs and cloud migration

When you stop to think about it, the most enthusiastic adopters of cloud computing and the easiest companies to sell it to should be small and medium-sized enterprises.

We agree with this analysis by Ireland-based technology journalist Billy MacInnes: The cloud should be especially appealing to SMEs. “Larger organisations have substantial legacy infrastructure and bespoke systems they are unwilling or unable to quickly move into the cloud, but many smaller organisations have no such entrenched, complex IT to protect and preserve. By rights, they should be far more open to the concept of cloud computing.”

And once these companies have made successful early forays into the cloud, they can use it to support other key technologies, including mobile and analytics, in a scalable and affordable fashion.

But as we saw in a recent global research project on SMEs, many smaller firms are slower to adopt cloud computing than one might expect. A couple big hurdles: Lack of understanding of the benefits, and trouble determining ROI.  Meanwhile, willingness to relinquish control of IT systems turns out to be a minor issue.

Note that the earlier research was global in scope and focused on a broader set of issues than the current, US-oriented program we are chronicling here. Still, it sets up some of the key questions we’ll be pursuing over the next few months.

Cloud news roundup

Some stories of interest from around the web:

  • According to a recent Gartner survey, 70% of CIOs expect to change technology and sourcing relationships in the next three years, largely because of dissatisfaction with their current providers’ ability to adapt to change. “Market share will shift to service providers able to help clients respond to the business and IT opportunities and challenges that are overwhelming more than half of organizations today, says Gartner managing vice president Eric Rocco. “Service providers need to convert this picture into an opportunity rather than a threat.”
  • Lukewarm reaction to its earnings report fails to deter Oracle optimism about its cloud business. The software giant plans to expand public, private, and hybrid cloud models; Oracle says it also will make it easier for customers to purchase, onboard, and make use of their software.
  • Five common cloud myths preventing healthcare deployment, concerning security, cost, functionality, ownership, and opportunity.

Survey launch countdown

We’re very close to finalizing our survey document, after which we’ll code it, test it, and launch it into the field. A few weeks later, we’ll have the results from 350 c-level execs and direct reports at companies across the United States.

Our goal is to bring back meaningful, statistically-relevant data about the ways companies of various sizes in diverse industries are approaching the cloud — where they are in the process, what their strategic thinking is, what keeps them up at night.

We’ll also conduct a series of interviews with executives to add perspective and color to the survey data.

When that’s all done, we’ll produce a series of short papers and infographics that present our findings and delve into relevant themes suggested by the research. And throughout it all, we’ll be updating you with progress and results at this site.