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Survey: Cloud computing puts IT at the forefront of business strategy

There is no doubt that cloud use is expanding, and its influence is starting to rear its head across several industries. For example, at a recent energy conference Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said a partnership with Baker Hughes using cloud computing has enabled the oil firm to reduce oil well flows from nine months to 30 days.

Now, a CA Inc.-sponsored survey of 200 IT managers in the U.S. and Europe indicates that cloud computing may also be elevating IT’s role in business strategy. More than half (54%) of the respondents said that while the current value of IT is largely defined by its role as owner and operator of the IT infrastructure, they believe that within two years the primary value of IT will come from managing the IT supply chain. Fifty percent of those surveyed said that an increase in cloud-based services, particularly those that were formerly managed in-house, has contributed to this evolution.

Survey results also showed that IT professionals believe cloud computing accelerates agility (63%), innovation (58%) and collaboration with the business (57%). Respondents also predicted cloud computing will boost IT productivity (55%) and decrease the level of staff time/resources dedicated to IT support (40%).

Additional findings from the study include:

  • 60% of respondents said demand for personnel with expertise in cloud computing has increased in the last five years, and 63% expect demand to grow over the next two years.
  • 72% said their IT organizations are focusing more time on managing outsourced IT or cloud services providers now versus five years ago, including more time spent on vendor management.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents agree that an increasing number of CIOs and senior IT staff will have a business (as opposed to a technology) background in the future.

Respondents also anticipated new IT titles dedicated to cloud computing and cloud vendor management will emerge due to these trends. Predictions of what these new titles might be included cloud architect, cloud service manager, cloud integration specialist/expert, cloud security manager/engineer, director of cloud infrastructure and executive vice president of cloud technologies.

If these predictions about the expanding influence of cloud computing come to fruition, these positions will be needed to ensure a sound cloud strategy. Staying compliant in the cloud is another concern. But as we’ve examined in recent weeks, by taking an active interest and doing your homework on vendors, applying effective security solutions and being aware of public cloud risks, it is possible to stay prepared for being more active in the cloud. The proactive approach will pay off in the end, especially if the cloud continues its expansion — and influence on IT operations.

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