The CIO skillset for 2011: clouds on the horizon

The much publicised cloud is with us in CIO-land and starting to gain supporters and implementers, albeit the giant scale Government take-up has not yet kicked off.

For CIOs then, where cloud might become a viable business solution, what will they need to do to equip themselves?

Let's first look at what it won't do. Well it won't enable you to sensibly move your legacy in-house applications. You need proximity and expertise of your own there so if you are a largely legacy shop, you may stand down for a while or at least rest easier.

If, on the other hand, you are a vanilla package consumer then the heat may be on. Its getting hotter as well if you are a largely domestic entity in a Western economy where data "residency" issues do not really affect you.

You are a good bet for investigating cloud, so if your business shape tends to this model, then what you will need to do to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge to make the right decisions?

Firstly, it is our view that commercially cloud looks a little like outsourcing. Someone else will look after your stuff, so all the issues such as performance, year-on-year improvement and responsibilities of each party to each other are all the same.

Nothing new there then for the skills portfolio.

Security check
Cloud does potentially open up new security considerations though. Risks might be higher or lower than your current environment but that depends on what applications currently use what data and how people access and utilise them.

Since the record of Cloud service providers will be thin at best, most CIOs will need some reasonably deep architectural and telecommunications expertise to reflect on the risk profile.

It may well be worth investing in some risk assessment toolset as it is not just the domain security, but all dimensions from end-user through to service provider you will need to consider. This is a notorious area of weakness for many CIOs.

Looking further through the CIO's battery of necessary skills, we can also see how cloud may require additional help or learning.

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