CIOs Warming (and Moving) to Cloud Technology

Research from Host Analytics and Dimensional Research indicates that IT is spending significantly for cloud services. CIOs are practicing what they preach, too, as IT departments outpace all other business units in cloud adoption.

By D.H. Kass
Thu, July 05, 2012

CIO — Cloud technology surveys—many of which either foretell widespread corporate cloud adoption or caution the over-exuberant—are relatively common in IT, frequently separated only by minor distinctions. What differentiates the various studies, however, is what motivated the research in the first place and what are the authors trying to confirm (or dispel).

Such is the case with a new body of research—underwritten by Host Analytics, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) software—and mined this past May from web-based interviews with 348 CIOs and IT professionals by Dimensional Research, a boutique researcher based in nearby Sunnyvale.

The findings suggest a heightened optimism by CIOs concerning the value and benefits of cloud technology. Indeed, chief among Dimensional's results is the assertion by 92 percent of CIOs and IT professionals participating in the survey that cloud technology is good for business, with 67 percent contending that it helps deliver better systems for less money. Such is CIOs' rising enthusiasm for the cloud that it outstrips even that of their IT staff, as 81 percent of IT managers believe the cloud presents a business benefit.

CIOs Warming to Cloud, Not Afraid to Use It

The research sprang from Host Analytics' interactions with key customers over the past year, says Alex Ortiz, the company's product marketing director.

"We've seen a shift in attitudes toward the cloud from our buyers. Even among some of our larger customers, we noticed more CIOs leading the vendor search for cloud applications," Ortiz says. "We were used to selling around the CIO. We wondered what had caused them to become more advocates of cloud technology, and we wanted to see if our experience perhaps extended to a broader audience."

CIOs and IT executives accounted for 202 of the 348 respondents. More than 60 percent came from the manufacturing, financial, education, healthcare and government sectors in North America, spread equally among small and mid-sized businesses and large enterprises, says Diane Hagglund, Dimensional Research principal and the study's author.

"This is the first cloud research where we focused on CIOs and looked at a broad view of the cloud," she says. "We asked specifically if the cloud delivers better systems for less money to see if CIOs believe this is true. We were surprised at how positive they were about the cloud."

Other researchers have seen the same boost in cloud-related CIO confidence, albeit not at such lofty levels. Laurie McCabe, a partner at SMB Group, a Northborough, Mass.-based industry watcher, says her data likewise shows that businesses are expanding plans to deploy cloud solutions.

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