CIOs told in latest report to “embrace cloud or be left behind”

A survey from Capita IT Services has revealed that CIOs see cloud computing as a key enabler to business innovation, yet boardrooms are “nervous” places where execs have to convince them cloud adoption is the way forward.

The research, a combination of roundtable sessions and surveys featuring nearly 150 CIOs, found some interesting points regarding cloud adoption. More than three in five (61%) believe that improving the company’s innovation is now one of their highest priorities, with a further one in five (20%) believing it to be a low priority.

Not surprisingly, the report discusses the shift of CIO from chief information to chief innovation officer.

“The ‘C’ in CIO now represents communication, collaboration, change; ‘I’ represents integration, interfaces, investment; and ‘O’ means optimisation, organisation and operations,” the report trumpets.

“In order to assert themselves at board level and become strategic business influencers, CIOs need to align themselves with their fellow C-suite colleagues and move from small scale operational innovation to expand their remit, taking ownership of business-wide innovation,” it adds.

This is all well and good, but you can’t just ask an entire company to be innovative at the drop of a hat.

The report found that there was a 50-50 split between how to install architecture of innovation; half of respondents believe that every employee should be given freedom to be innovative, whilst the other half think there should be a dedicated innovation team.

The risk with the former is that good ideas may not be followed through, whilst the risk with the latter is that a lack of ownership could lead to ideas being lost along the way.

With this catch-22 situation in mind, there were other pitfalls that C-level execs needed to be wary of:

  • Cultural issues: the report argues the climate may not be the ripest for moving to the cloud with the NSA revelations still at front of mind
  • Nervous board: completely changing your IT operations is going to be a tough sell for anyone, the report argues
  • Integration: the report advocates awareness of potential ‘hidden costs’ within the cloud, a common difficulty
  • Perception of end-user clients: as good as it is to decide that you’re moving to the cloud, there are still a clutch of customers to inform, the report notes

There were other interesting statistics in the survey, in particular the admission that the average success rates of shadow IT projects were 60/40.

Yet this is more proof of the link between cloud and innovation for CIOs – and how the traditional definition of the CIO is changing rapidly.

What do you make of the results, and do you agree the CIO is the chief innovation officer now?

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