Taking cloud to the mainstream

by Dale Vile

The hype around cloud computing is pretty intensive. The IT industry and its pundits have gone crazy predicting massive disruption, shake-outs, and traditional software incumbents being undermined by enlightened players like Google and Salesforce.com.

Against this background, propaganda about the buyer/user appetite for all things cloud created by those trying to drive the disruption is lapped up by the media, bloggers and even a lot of industry analysts. Claims, such as the one put about recently by Salesforce.com that more than half of CIOs believe *all* applications used by their organisation will be hosted on the internet within five years, are examples of, let‟s just say, some wishful thinking. When looking at stuff like this, you only have to take a minute to think about the practicalities involved in outsourcing everything currently running in corporate data centres, or even the computer rooms of smaller businesses, to realise how out of touch the vested interests‟ rhetoric is with the real world.

Our own research paints quite a different story. While businesses out there are interested in ideas such as Software as a Service (SaaS), utility computing and other stuff that generally falls under the cloud computing heading, the opportunity in this area is very much seen as incremental rather than revolutionary. Most larger organisations are already taking advantage of hosted, subscription based services in some part of the business, but adoption is typically very selective and quite tactical, mostly based around discrete applications such as sales force automation, project management, elements of collaboration, etc, that don‟t require much in the way of integration with the broader IT landscape or other cloud based services.

The jury is out at the moment on how much it makes sense to move more business critical core systems or applications with heavy integration requirements into the cloud……….

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Dale is a co-founder of Freeform Dynamics, and today runs the company. As part of this, he oversees the organisation’s industry coverage and research agenda, which tracks technology trends and developments, along with IT-related buying behaviour among mainstream enterprises, SMBs and public sector organisations.