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IT execs weigh in on cloud computing and IT business transformation

I was at a Boston Society for Information Management (SIM) event the other day on transformation: how CIOs are transforming the business and the role of IT, but what struck me is how little a role cloud computing was playing, as of yet, in business or IT transformation.

At least, that’s what I was hearing from attendees. One company in the medical device field thought email would be a good low-hanging-fruit candidate for the cloud, but it was a no-go from a regulatory compliance perspective. A publisher is considering moving to cloud computing to offload the management of its infrastructure to someone else but questions the limitations of cloud platforms and the amount of control its own IT department would retain.

A government agency wants to share computing resources with other agencies that have similar applications and services, but it’s taking baby steps since the “concept” of a private cloud has yet to be proven.

There’s plenty of interest, but a lot of buts.

The transformation that is under way at the companies that attended the SIM event was driven mainly by CIOs, not technology per se. Jo Hoppe, CIO of Parexel International Corp., a clinical trial provider to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, asked the business if she could shadow employees throughout the early stages of a clinical trial process. She wanted to understand the business and how IT could help in the different phases of the clinical trials — and if she could make the day-to-day life of these employees easier through technology improvements.

“I had a much deeper understanding of the business and the tasks that they had to perform … so I could ask myself, ‘What tools and technology would make things better for them. What’s missing, and how can [IT] make the business better,’” she said, during a presentation at the event.

Bill Oates, CIO of the city of Boston, also took to the streets. The residents and businesses of Boston had no one stop to get their suggestions and complaints to the city. So Oates set out to create a 24/7 hotline (after integrating a lot of different databases) that directed people to the right department.

“If a constituent calls about fixing a pothole, that call doesn’t go to D.C. but to the guy who fills the pothole,” he said during a question-and-answer session at the SIM event.

What are your thoughts on cloud computing and the role of the IT executive when it comes to transforming the business? Let me know: [email protected].

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