The rise and the rise of the Cloud

I stumbled across an article in AustralianIT written by Gartner’s Brian Prentice, who contends that 2012 will be the year that technology and business goals align. He also suggests demand for Cloud services will drive a need for ‘credible external rating agencies’. I think ‘neutral’ agencies will definitely see an opportunity on the tail of the Cloud boom, but their significance is questionable. If you choose a reputable provider with excellent references, do you really need to pay for the opinion of a third party?


THE cloud and mobility dominate Gartner’s major forecasts for the information technology sector for the year ahead.

Research vice-president Brian Prentice says the need for credible external rating agencies for cloud service providers will become more urgent this year.

Current industry performance contracts lack the scope to quantify, or be accountable for, the costly and potentially devastating indirect effects that service failures have on businesses.

Trying to mitigate risk using service level agreements will prove unwieldy for companies, as they often deal directly with consultancies that on-sell cloud services in complex multi-tiered agreements.

“The issue here is that it’s very hard to expect the vendors to have a set of impacts on their business commensurate with the problems that could come up. What that means is that you can’t come back on that, and you have to do the assessment on whether the problem is going to show up in the first place,” Prentice says. He envisages that ratings agencies, operating on similar lines to those in the finance sector, will emerge for cloud service companies by the end of the year.

And they won’t be short of business. Gartner predicts global 1000 companies will increasingly store customer-sensitive data in the public cloud, contradicting frequent assurances that they avoid the practice.

“The trend line is clear: more and more of this data is finding its way into the cloud,” says Prentice.

For enterprise software vendors, the drive to tap into demand for mobility will start to create a fundamental shift in their development activity, says Prentice.

Keeping apace with the growing number and flavour of app stores for smartphones and tablet devices, they will increasingly break their monolithic applications down into “bite-sized” apps for mobile platforms and devices.

Mobility will continue to create challenges in the IT service departments of large organisations. The rising tide of staff demanding the ability to bring their own device into the work sphere has swamped them and they need to respond.

“Around 12 to 18 months ago the question was how to stop this stuff creeping into organisations. Now we’re getting to the stage where everyone has sort of surrendered to the fact that there’s no stopping this, so the issue is how you manage the devices,” Prentice says.

It will also be the year IT will start to wash off the stains of cynicism left over from the heady days of the dotcom boom.

Increasingly, more technology expenditure will not be accounted for directly within IT budgets. Individual departments will take digitisation initiatives without approaching CIOs for oversight.

That, says Prentice, means the departments will see the benefit of technology; IT and business will start to align. “I would argue this is happening – it’s just not happening the way that everyone thought it would happen.”

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