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Let the Cloud Follow Business Decisions

On June 4th, the IT Media Group hosted one of its popular CIO Master Series Roundtables in Toronto, this time focusing on the use of Cloud as a vital part of IT strategy. “Crunch Time for CIOs” looked at how Cloud is changing the IT game and what CIOs need to be doing to ensure their organizations take full advantage of it.

Fifteen CIOs representing telecommunications, energy, financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical, technology, government and education participated with a high degree of enthusiasm and candour. The sponsor for this private, invitation-only breakfast session was Salesforce.

John Pickett, VP of Executive Programs facilitated the discussion. He commented that with the rise of sophisticated Cloud offerings, the IT organization is no longer positioned as the company’s sole source of applications and services. In many organizations, the business lines are taking more and more responsibility for bringing applications into the company, with or without the blessing of IT.

While some technology leaders see this as a threat to their traditional domain, others embrace it as an opportunity to go beyond legacy technology management. Through collaboration with the business, IT can leverage Cloud to satisfy user and customer demands, while also meeting the CEO’s expectations for business innovation.

The majority of participants agreed that Cloud adoption is not about implementing just another technology solution, but also about a culture change that allows transformation to happen. It requires closer collaboration between IT and the business by establishing business process frameworks and service level agreements across the organization. Anthony Iannucci, CIO of TTC, believes that by changing IT’s positioning from a service provider to a business partner, the credibility and efficiency of the IT organization has improved.

While most participants are embracing Cloud, some struggle with building a tangible ROI for Cloud. Chris Makkreel, Head of Solution Engineering at Salesforce, advised that Cloud should be viewed as a platform that continues to expand. Its most important value for IT is “taking the complexity out of continuously adding applications”.

Maria Aiello, CIO of Regal Lifestyle Communities, is a big supporter of Cloud adoption. She pointed out that a case for Cloud is “less about saving money, but more of the transformative side of things… agility”. She feels the business case for Cloud has to be built around the “future state of IT”. Alfred Dorkalam of Scotiabank agreed. In his opinion, only focussing on cost would be a “pitfall and one dimensional”. “You are going Cloud because you want to have culture change. It’s very important to look at the benefits of optimization, agility and automation’.

Security, privacy, risk management and data ownership all surfaced as key concerns associated with Cloud adoption. Many believed it vital to establish strategic relationships with service providers who have strong expertise in these areas.

The session uncovered various ways in which savvy CIOs are reshaping the image of IT, winning the hearts and minds of business leaders and users, positioning themselves as trusted advisors, and dealing with the new reality of business lines that are ready, willing and eager to adopt the Cloud.
In the end, George Postalian, CTO of Dealertrack Canada, couldn’t have said it better: “Let the Cloud follow business decisions”.

This roundtable is part of our Cloud Computing series. We will explore more topics around Cloud security, data, framework and business cases in our future sessions. If you would like to join us next time please complete the VIP membership form.

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