CIO Barometer: A Storm Is Coming - Cont'd
Hand in hand with BYOD is cloud computing. By storing information on shared servers in large, Internet-connected data centers, CIOs facilitate remote access to information and resources for staff. A third of early adopters of cloud computing surveyed for CSC’s Cloud Usage Index last year say their primary motivation for moving to the cloud is being able to provide greater access to information. And nearly 55% say they moved to the cloud to focus more on innovation and business strategy.
No surprise, then, that more than 70% of executives surveyed for the CIO Barometer 2012 report say they have cloud initiatives under way, up sharply from just 26% a year earlier. In the United States alone, use of cloud technology is even more widespread, at 80% of those surveyed. And nearly 65% of executives say the cloud is their top priority for the coming years.
That’s certainly the case at AkzoNobel, a €15.7 billion supplier of paint, coatings and specialty chemicals based in Amsterdam. The company’s CIO, Pieter Schoehuijs, is moving all AkzoNobel email to a private cloud — essentially a virtualized data center within the enterprise. “Not all our employees need the full box of expensive tools,” Schoehuijs says. “So we are segmenting our offer for light, medium and heavy users of mailboxes, for example, with different capacity and pricing.”
Despite the many benefits of the cloud, some CIOs are still reluctant to adopt the technology broadly. Pierre Niox-Château, CIO of JCDecaux, a €2.4 billion provider of outdoor advertising based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, explains his measured approach to the cloud. “We also make opportunistic use of cloud computing,” he says, “but for reasons of critical mass, cost and flexibility, we think we’ll still have to wait before making these practices widespread.”
Blue skies ahead?
With BYOD and cloud computing putting more power into employees’ hands, CIOs need to weather this storm by making sure they change their roles with the times and by showing they can bring a higher level of innovation to the table. Fortunately, this is already happening. Nearly 70% of North American and European respondents to the CIO Barometer 2012 survey say IT is involved in change/evolution projects, and nearly the same percentage say IT is involved with enterprise strategy. And nearly 65% say IT is helping accelerate innovation.
Plus, CIOs are improving their relations with the business. In the CIO Barometer 2012 survey, more than 55% say they’re improving communications between IT and other departments. Fully half say IT participates in making business decisions. And 45% say they’re improving the visibility, performance and costs of the services provided by IT.
What’s more, many IT departments seem well positioned for these changes. More than 65% of CIOs in the survey say they report to top enterprise management. And nearly 85% are members of their organizations’ decision-making bodies, up from just 66% a year earlier.
“CIOs have to face this uncertain outlook and balance the need for innovation with a steady state. We have to decide what needs to be changed quickly and what parts of the business can be left alone,” says Tom Halbouty, CIO of Pioneer Natural Resources, an Irving, Texas-based oil and gas exploration/production company. “We must provide guidance to the organization. I see my role as helping people get rid of the distractions so that they can achieve better focus.”
PETER KRASS is a writer for CSC’s digital marketing team.