Half of organisations have said that what excites them most about the cloud aside from the acknowledged business benefits of cost saving and increased agility is that resources can be reassigned to focus more on creativity and growth rather than fire drills according to a poll by 360IT - The IT Infrastructure Event, due to take place at London's Earls Court this coming September. A further 30% said that it was the ability to use familiar apps they used outside work in a work environment, and 14% thought that they would gain competitive advantage over non could adopters. Only 9% were too worried about security risks to get excited by the cloud. [Poll of 509 IT managers carried out in June 2010]
Peter Hinssen a leading lecturer and technology trends expert who blogs for 360IT says that, far from being wary of cloud computing, businesses should actively embrace its benefits and accelerate the rate of adoption that the Internet-based computing and storage environment brings to firms of all sizes.
Hinssen says, "It is just a way of saying we are going to be increasingly thinking in terms of the network, and will be much less inclined to run all sorts of hardware and software locally ourselves."
"Of course, we have been moving steadily in that direction for years. Just look at telephony: we all used to have an answering machine at home for our landline, but now we just use our mobile voicemail 'in the cloud'," he added.
According to Hinssen, who is a lecturer at the London Business School, many of us still have a certain nostalgic desire to hold on to a real device, as well as a need to be able to see our own data centre run with our own server and our own software.
If cloud evolution continues, he says, then a data centre is soon likely to become a collector's item. Many IT people today, he explains, find that hard to cope with.
"After all, we have grown up with the smell of computer hardware and we want to keep it as close to us as possible," he said, adding that the next generation of users sees things differently.
"Consider email. Generation Y finds it much more convenient to use Google's Gmail than their company email, and prefers the ease of MSN and Facebook to internal company systems for communicating with one another. Even storing and exchanging documents is a lot easier for them with Google Docs than using the company intranet," he explained.
As a result of this, Hinssen argues that the definition of work for a Generation Y user is: `a short period of the day during which I have to use the old technology.'
And because of these issues, he concludes that today's IT managers should not try to put on the brakes.
"On the contrary, we need to show users the way to the proper applications in the cloud and the right way to use them. Attempting to block this would be completely wrong, but it does mean we need to do our own experimenting, testing and assessment," he said.
"The cloud is certainly more than just hype, but if we aren't careful it could become our greatest obstacle," he added.
About 360IT The IT Infrastructure Event
360IT is the event dedicated to the IT community addressing the needs of IT professionals responsible for the management and development of a flexible, secure and dynamic IT infrastructure. With high level strategic content, product demonstrations and technical workshops, 360IT will provide an essential road map of current and emerging technologies to deliver end to end solutions. 360IT will facilitate vendor and end user collaboration to create the IT infrastructure necessary to achieve key business objectives - improving service, reducing cost and managing risk whilst gaining competitive advantage and growth.