"Slow Shift"

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 05-06-2008 Print Email

Why not? Respondents cited capacity-planning difficulties, spending restrictions and the lack of resources to handle business requests. Those are certainly valid concerns. Add the fact that many IT departments--like their corporate parents--are change-averse, and the cloud computing pill gets a little harder to swallow.

In his latest book, The Big Switch, author and blogger Nicholas Carr stresses that companies can pace themselves when moving to the cloud model. "There's nothing in the utility model that says all software has to go to the shared utility model," Carr told CIO Insight in a recent interview. "Companies should not think of this as an all-ornothing choice."

As an example of this gradual approach, Menefee and his team at Schumacher have shifted about 50 percent to the cloud. They're taking their time and choosing their shots. That's not unusual: The McKinsey study shows that despite the momentum for service computing, the traditional software license/maintenance model still predominates among enterprise users.

The future of cloud computing offers all kinds of as-yet-untapped benefits. Perhaps when the cloud extends far enough for users to make their own IT choices, they will be able to bypass traditional tech departments, which will enable IT to focus on more strategic issues.

Most companies have a long way to go before reaching that kind of payoff. First, they need to understand SaaS's benefits and then devise a migration strategy.

Finally, they will have to put cloud computing to the test against the realities of their own day-to-day operations.  

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