Cloud computing a CIO favourite for 2011

Cloud computing

Cloud computing will be a hit with chief information officers (CIOs) this year as adoption will happen quicker than expected, an analyst firm has claimed.

Just three per cent of CIOs currently have the majority of IT running in the cloud or on software-as-a-service technologies, but over the next four years CIOs expect this to rise to 43 per cent, a Gartner survey showed.

"CIOs and IT have been boxed in between modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements," said Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner Executive Programs.

"New lighter-weight technologies - such as cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), and social networks - and IT models enable the CIO to redefine IT, giving it a greater focus on growth and strategic impact. These are two things that are missing from many organisations."

Rob Lovell, chief executive (CEO) of cloud services provider Thinkgrid, said the Gartner report only confirmed what his company had seen in the market.

"Companies are asking themselves why they should continue with the status quo, making upfront capital expenditure investments and carrying all the risks associated with large scale IT implementations," Lovell said.

"Ultimately, the findings show that the cloud model has made its mark and is fundamentally changing the way we all access and pay for IT."

The Gartner report also indicated CIOs' IT budgets will remain flat across the globe.

In more positive results, the number of those dealing with budget rises in 2011 outnumbered those reporting a cut by almost three-to-one.

Virgin Media Business' executive director for commercial Andrew McGrath said he felt there were reasons to be cheerful about the coming year.

"IT departments remain the unsung heroes of many organisations. Although budgets may remain flat in 2011, the good news is that advances in technology, such as cloud computing, are really starting to help unburden IT professionals from the small tasks that can hold back innovation, enabling them to focus on the bigger picture," McGrath said.

"2011 is looking to be an exciting and liberating year for CIOs, where advances in technology and creative uses of IT will provide the catalyst for real business change."

A recent survey from showed small and medium enterprises were still baffled by cloud technology.

Three quarters of the respondents (74 per cent) said they didn't use cloud computing and 43 per cent of those did not even know what the term meant.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.