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CIOs explore Cloud issues, innovation

One of the best Canadian conversations around Cloud this year took place on August 21 in Toronto when The IT Media Group hosted another of its popular CIO Master Series roundtables, this time focusing on “Innovation in the Cloud”. The private, invitation-only event was attended by 13 IT executives from a cross section of industries and the public sector. It was sponsored by Hitachi Data Systems Canada, with CTO Paul Lewis at the table, sharing his considerable expertise on the subject.

With respect to innovation, several participants talked about how Cloud is enabling their organizations to experiment with new business models without tying up IT resources. One CIO noted that he is using Cloud to support skunk works projects, saying, “It’s a great way to encourage people to try things.” Added another, “Cloud enables users to ‘play’ without the need for big investment.”

Participants agreed that Cloud, at this stage, is more of an enabler of innovation, rather than a big driver of it. However, it is making innovation possible.

While roundtable members gave the topic of innovation its due, most were intent on discussing other issues related to Cloud, such as acquisition challenges, impact on the IT organization, and governance.

Contractual issues were high on the list of concerns for most CIOs. One participant noted that a recent move to Cloud resulted in two months of work for the IT organization and eight months of work for legal.

One of the most advanced users of Cloud services at the table said that there needs to be dedicated teams involved in Cloud projects, including legal teams, financial teams and security teams. He added that in smaller organizations, or companies in which top-down support for such an approach is lacking, the CIO should take the initiative in enlisting the support of ancillary organizations, whether or not it results in the creation of formalized teams.

The roundtable also touched on the issue of economic transparency – the need for the IT organization to provide more granular information to the business around cost. This is especially important when weighing the cost of Cloud versus existing systems, as many Cloud costs are not apparent to the business. As time was limited and there was much more to be discussed on this important subject, economic transparency may a key topic for a future CIO Master Series roundtable.

Participants also had a lively discussion around various other topics, including:

  • Lack of business understanding of Cloud
  • Business units setting up Cloud services on their own, creating rogue data
  • Public vs. private vs. hybrid Cloud
  • The need for Cloud solutions and SLAs that are more tailored to specific industries
  • The lack of flexibility in contracts
  • The need for top-down support within the organization
  • How to withdraw from Cloud agreements

As always, there was strong interest amongst attendees in attending future CIO Master Series roundtables. If you are an IT executive and would like to attend future events, you can “Become a VIP member”. You will then receive early notification and invitations to IT Media Group events.

About CIO Master Series Roundtables
The IT Media Group’s CIO Master Series roundtables provide the ideal format for frank and open discussion among IT executive peers, allowing them to explore issues in depth, with a judicious amount of expert facilitation. These sessions are designed specifically for small groups of IT leaders, enabling them to take away practicable new approaches, validate their own thoughts, brainstorm ideas, and share their successes and their pain.

About The IT Media Group
The IT Media Group serves the IT industry by creating great resources and connections for CIOs while providing neutral forums through which they can speak with vendor executives and subject-matter experts in a non-sales environment. Our leadership team includes media personalities John Pickett and Dave Carey, who have been high-profile supporters and champions of the Canadian CIO community for nearly two decades, and Nasheen Liu, a marketing expert with a wealth of experience in first-tier IT firms.

 

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