As pointed out in a previous blog, the CIO’s view of the cloud has changed considerably since I began writing On Top of the Cloud in 2011. Back then, many CIOs were still trying to figure out whether the cloud was a fad, a trend, or whether it truly represented a transformation as to how data would be exchanged and processed.

Fast forward to 2015. When CIOs and other organizational leaders talk about the cloud today, it’s not necessarily a discussion around the use of the public cloud. As I pointed out in a prior article, there are advantages to using public, private, and hybrid clouds depending on the use case. And while security is a major consideration, it isn’t the only factor. Cost, management, and availability of resources are also important issues that need to be deliberated.

Instead of representing “the end of IT as we know it,” the cloud is playing an essential role for CIOs in the enterprise technology portfolio. In some cases, the cloud is enabling the IT organization to provide the business with needed agility in rolling out a new application without incurring delays in the IT/business project pipeline. In other circumstances, CIOs are leveraging the cloud to provide business users with consumer-type support experiences should they need help navigating a particular application or assistance with a problematic device.

One of the best ways for CIOs to leverage the strengths of the cloud is by using cloud platforms to enable innovation in the enterprise. In a discussion I had with Frank Slootman, the CEO of ServiceNow, Frank points to opportunities for IT to deliver real value to the enterprise by mastering the processes and technologies required to manage data from the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The Internet of Things will be huge,” said Frank. “Every device – from medical scanners to cars to printers to refrigerators – will have an IP address and will be managed through the IT backbone. When everything is programmable and connected, the standard notions of IT management will evolve greatly.”

This also means that companies across a variety of industries – automotive, consumer packaged goods, retail, healthcare, etc. – will have opportunities to leverage the data that’s generated from IoT to create new products and services for consumers. In many cases, the cloud will be the conduit for transmitting this data.

Meanwhile, because the cloud enables enterprises to collect vast lakes of customer data, the cloud also represents opportunities for businesses to sell non-proprietary data that may be valuable to other organizations. Of course, CIOs would need to work closely with other organizational leaders to assess all risks associated with sharing data, including privacy and ethical considerations.

It wasn’t that long ago that CIOs viewed the cloud as a threat to the IT organization. But just as the cloud itself has evolved, so too have CIOs shifted their views on how the cloud can be utilized to benefit the enterprise.

Key Takeaways

  • Instead of representing “the end of IT as we know it,” the cloud is playing an essential role for CIOs in the enterprise technology portfolio.
  • Some CIOs are leveraging the cloud to provide business users with streamlined consumer-type support experiences.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is an example of how the cloud can be used to drive innovation and create new products and services for external customers.