Insights from the Global CIO study about cloud computing


Some weeks ago I presented the conclusions of the IBM 2011 CIO Study at the itgsm VISION 2011 congress in Madrid and moderated a round table with CIOs and experts on the role of the CIO. If you can understand Spanish, you may want to watch it online here. One of the most interesting conclusions derived from the 3,000 interviews conducted with CIOs in 71 countries is the rising interest of CIOs in cloud computing.

Six out of 10 CIOs plan to use cloud computing over the next three to five years. This represents a dramatic increase in the interest around cloud computing compared to the results from the IBM 2009 CIO study, when only three out of 10 CIOs showed interest in cloud computing. In fact, during the round table we conducted, most participants agreed on the growing interest of their organizations in cloud computing.

The CIO Study categorizes CIOs into four groups depending on the mandate that each CIO receives from the business: Expand, Leverage, Transform and Pioneer. Although CIOs with different mandates focus on different priorities, the fact is that cloud computing can be helpful to CIOs with any mandate.

  • CIOs with the Expand mandate are asked by their organizations to leverage IT to streamline operations for greater organizational effectiveness. In these organizations IT is seen as a provider of fundamental technology. Cloud computing may be used by CIOs as a tool to reduce costs thanks to reducing capital expenses (by sharing hardware resources through virtualization) and operating expenses (by reducing manual interventions through self-service and automation).
  • CIOs with the Leverage mandate are asked to refine business processes and enhance collaboration across the organization. In these organizations IT is perceived as a facilitator of organizational process efficiency. CIOs at these organizations are forsaking the do-everything-inhouse approach that once characterized many IT shops and instead plan to partner extensively. Traditionally these CIOs have considered partnering options such as of outsourcing and managed services, and now they also the option of partnering with cloud computing providers to achieve this goal. For CIOs in top-performing Expand mandate organizations, collaboration and integration are especially important, and this can achieved through the use of private or public collaboration cloud services.
  • CIOs with the Transform mandate are asked to provide industry specific solutions to change the business. IT is expected to help transform the industry value chain by enhancing relationships with customers, partners and internal clients. For these CIOs, cloud computing can improve and extend collaboration outside the frontiers of the company as well as simplify and extend business processes with suppliers and customers. The agility provided by cloud computing brings may also be helpful to drive a transformation process and change the business.
  • CIOs with the Pioneer mandate are asked to help pioneer or radically re-engineer products, markets and business models. IT is seen as a critical enabler of the business/organizational vision. These CIOs will adopt cloud computing solutions in order to reduce time-to-market and enable new workloads which are not easily deployed on traditional IT infrastructure (large scale collaboration, analytics, energy management, etc.). Since IT is a core asset of these companies, CIOs with this mandate will most likely implement private cloud solutions.

A thorough understanding of these mandates can help CIOs to identify how cloud computing can help them to succeed in meeting the objectives set by their CEOs. For more information about the IBM Global CIO Study 2011, please visit

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Luis Aguilar Mateo

About Luis Aguilar Mateo

Luis is a manager at IBM Global Services and an IT Consulting Leader for Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel. In addition, he serves as an executive consultant, cloud blogger and inventor. Follow Luis on Twitter @luisaguilar_IBM.
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