CIOs and other tech bosses appear are welcoming the advent of cloud computing, but not everyone's convinced it will become the dominant method of delivering IT to the business.
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Cloud computing - securely accessing company data and applications through the web - is the current buzzword, with many software suppliers predicting it will be the future's IT infrastructure of choice.
Although the latest CIO Jury poll came out hung on the question 'is the future of software in cloud computing?' with six CIOs voting yes and a further six saying no, even those who don't see the cloud as the de facto IT delivery system of the future acknowledge it will still play a key role in many companies' IT strategies.
Of the respondents who said they believe the cloud is the future of software, there was a strong voice in favour of the cost benefits.
Simon Stapleton, chief innovation officer, Skandia Investment Solutions said: "Any innovation that can take away the capital requirements from organisations will be welcomed, but cloud computing also puts management of technology into the hands of experts in those technologies."
Others felt the flexibility of not having to maintain and upgrade an in-house software estate is the bigger benefit.
Mark Foulsham, head of IT, eSure said: "I think that we are well overdue for a more flexible and scalable approach to IT provision and cloud computing could allow a breakthrough of some of the intransigent, rigid and legacy IT arrangements currently well past their sell by dates."
However, even those firmly behind cloud computing did have their reservations. Security was an issue, as was the vulnerability of a loss of connection to remote critical systems.
Steve Gediking, head of IT at the National Police Complaints Commission, agreed, convinced cloud computing will be limited to bread-and-butter utility office applications.
Ben Booth, global CTO at Ipsos, also questioned the business case for cloud computing for larger companies.
"I'm sure that for the smaller business that does not want to invest in it's own IT setup then cloud computing offers good value and low complexity. However, larger corporates will not want to relinquish control, especially over their confidential data. Furthermore, on a large scale cloud computing is likely to be more expensive than existing models," he said.
However, one head of IT has become supporter of wide scale cloud implementations, almost in spite of himself.
Pete Crowe, IT director of clothing retailer Fat Face, said: "I'm sure that the next big thing will be cloud-based service delivery. Last year I surprised myself by shortlisting a cloud-based [software] supplier and I expect when I replace Epos it will be a hosted solution."
Today's CIO Jury was:
- Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
- Ben Booth, global CTO, Ipsos
- Mike Buck, architecture manager, Yorkshire Water
- Pete Crowe, IT director, Fat Face
- Mark Foulsham, CIO, eSure
- Steve Gediking, head of IT, Independent Police Complaints Commission
- Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Model Management
- Mike Roberts, IT director, the London Clinic
- Mark Saysell, IT director, Creo Retail Marketing
- Simon Stapleton, chief innovation officer, Skandia Investment Solutions
- Spencer Steel IT manager, Informatique
- Ted Woodhouse, director of IT, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
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