CIOs are increasingly at the heart of conversations about how to drive greater efficiency within business using technology. One of the key functions of a CIO has traditionally been to determine the best way to store massive amounts of data in a safe, easy-to-access, cost-effective manner. For a business not to get left behind there is only one answer to this question – they should move to the cloud. The ramifications of this shift present a great opportunity for a CIO to transform from a keeper of the technology into a true Chief of Information, managing data as a company asset much like the CFO manages the money. Here's why you should jump on the cloud.
In the past many organisations struggled to move to the cloud hamstrung by legacy IT infrastructure and the problem of how to move petabytes of data that is transactional and therefore continually in use
Given company information is often chaotic and disorganised with users struggling to work and share content in the way that is required the cloud offers a single point of entry for all users. This enables the CIO to organise and manage data tactically and strategically across the entire business. With such streamlining and thanks to advanced analytic capabilities CIOs can truly use data to gain meaningful insights that are useful for the strategy and operations of the business.
It’s cost effective
The sheer volume of data businesses have to manage today is an issue that is only going to grow: by 2020 the average business will have to manage fifty times more information than it does today. For many businesses it is becoming too expensive to store that data on premise. The cloud is an extremely cost effective solution as organisations only pay for what they use. This makes it much easier for a CIO to control expenditure as he can plan for the future much more accurately without the worry of phasing out equipment. Since the cloud provider manages upgrades and maintenance the IT team is free to tackle other business critical issues.
Dynamic scalability is extremely valuable for any business where it’s unlikely that you will know how much data your organisation will generate in the next 12 months, let alone the next 10 years. Whether you’re a retailer where demand spikes at certain times of year or whether you’re a business that’s growing rapidly the elastic capability of cloud is going to be critical. As a CIO you can either continue to buy more and more equipment that will eventually become obsolete or you can move to the cloud where peaks and troughs in demand are automatically managed.
With the era of office working slowly draws to a close the cloud is playing a vital role in ensuring employees keep in constant contact through their laptops, phones and tablets. The cloud frees up employees to work anywhere allowing them to be more productive while having greater capabilities to collaborate.
Cloud computing is better than on premise hardware at handling all types of failure. With
companies increasingly needing constant access to data, downtime is a risk they cannot afford. The cloud maintains your data even if you lose access to a certain machine or a datacentre experiences an outage.
Whilst there is understandably much disagreement surrounding security, a move to the cloud offers a chance to upgrade with industry recognised audits making it much more secure than on site servers. Cloud vendors are able to stay up to date with the latest security and devote more time and staff to the issue.
The fact is, as a CIO, if you don’t move your business to the cloud, your employees will. They will find easier ways to do things whether that’s using an online service like Dropbox or Google Drive or adding apps to their mobiles. If a business wants to have control over how they are storing and accessing company information the cloud will give them the flexibility and freedom they require whilst also allowing the CIO to maintain necessary controls over confidential information.
The cloud means anyone with an idea can go to Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM or Oracle and be up and running in minutes. This is making it easier for new entrants to disrupt markets quickly. As a result legacy players must adapt as the world’s most advanced technologies are now not only available to large businesses with CIOs but can be accessed by anybody with an Internet connection.
David Richards is co-founder, president and chief executive of WANdisco