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Cloud computing can be deemed as a transformational technology, according to Role of the Indian CIO in 2011, conducted by SearchCIO.in. Nearly 60% or 77 of the 129 CIOs who participated in the survey opine that cloud technology has the potential to fundamentally change their roles. After cloud computing technology, CIOs believe that on-demand computing (44% of respondents) and virtualization (42%) have similar potential.
There has been an increased interest in cloud technology amongst Indian businesses. Cloud computing facilitates a piece-meal approach to information technology (IT) investments, which was valued during economic uncertainty. Cloud technology’s opex model is not only cost effective, but it also helps CIOs to avoid the risk of technology obsolescence typically associated with IT infrastructure investments. With the adoption of cloud computing technology delivery models, a CIO can expand his role from overseeing IT operations to participating in business decision-making.
Challenges to cloud technology
Cloud computing platforms simplify IT procurement and management for a CIO. However, a CIO needs to ensure that users are well aware of various aspects such as ownership, use, security, and control of data on the cloud computing setups.
Cloud computing models change the way businesses spend on licensing. A CIO also needs to be abreast with the laws of the region, where the cloud computing technology service provider’s infrastructure is located. According to SearchCIO.in survey more than 53% of the respondents expressed keenness to improve their knowledge about cloud technologies.
After cloud technologies, about 52% of the CIO respondents mention business intelligence (BI) and data management as the other two areas they need to know more about.
Evolving business imperatives
In addition to cloud technology, there are some business imperatives that also influence a CIO’s role. These imperatives include expanding market access, improving quality, increasing output, reducing costs, and helping frame business strategies through effective use of IT.
The CIOs are also expected to aid in managing business risk by implementing best practices, by adopting new technology delivery models, such as cloud computing technology, and by using information intelligence tools. According to 70% of the survey participants, the business imperative of ‘managing risk’ has been changing the role of a CIO today, followed by ‘globalizing operations’ as cited by 58% of the respondents.
With the business imperatives changing, CIOs are expected to don several hats, besides technology. About 43% of the respondents state that in addition to being technical decision makers, they are expected to function as operation specialists, while nearly 40% believe they have to act as business strategists.
The above mentioned change is evident in the fact that many Indian CIOs today have business rather than IT backgrounds. As another indication of the increased importance of business imperatives, 52% of the CIOs reveal that their capability to align IT projects with business objectives is the top criterion for evaluating their performance.