Business continuity is hardly surprising, as the world witnessed the devastating tsunami that stuck Japan in March this year, causing incalculable damages running into billions of dollars. While the country still reels from the effects of that natural disaster, apart from the nuclear fallout in the Fukushima region, the event witnessed by the world is a wake-up call for organisations everywhere to have in place disaster recovery and business continuity plans that would enable them to at least continue to function normally in times of disaster.
Cloud: No Go?
Interestingly, cloud computing, which was selected as one of the top five technology priorities CXOs thought would be in vogue for this year, turned out to be less hot than imagined. Perhaps organisations have gone back to the drawing board on their plans to take some IT services to the cloud, not because of the lack of cloud capabilities but shifting priorities. Business continuity planning is a clear priority now, but again, cloud offerings will to some extent help mitigate the risk exposure by bringing some level of redundancy to data protection and storage.
IT security too features prominently, as a result of a number of events that have happened over the last 12 months. Cyber crimes as exemplified by website attacks, theft of credit card information, and the well-reported cases of virus attacks on enterprise security systems outside the main target groups (e.g. the industrial systems of key power stations) have sounded alarm bells throughout. Clearly, enterprise IT security is now a top priority.
Thailand poses an interesting case (Table 4). While the top technology priority is integrating/enhancing existing systems and processes (45.2%), it is a toss-up in the next six categories, which garnered the same percentage of votes each (38.7%): business continuity planning, business intelligence, cloud computing, enterprise IT security, implementing new technologies, and mobility/wireless.
Cloud computing was selected by respondents from India and Thailand; even so, it does not rank high in their lists of top priorities. As mentioned earlier, it may not be indicative of abandonment of cloud but shifting priorities to other areas of concern. Nevertheless, CXOs must not ignore the trend or dismiss the possibility of deploying cloud computing solutions at least partially to take advantage of some cost savings.
"With shrinking budget and pressure to perform and provide consistent and new services, cloud and other emerging technology including hosted contact centres, etc., [cloud] is the way to go," declared one respondent.
A June 2011 survey of IT leaders and management by SWC Technology Partners in the US shows that many businesses, especially mid-sized and large enterprises, are slow to embrace cloud computing. The study found that only 3.7 percent of respondents have adopted a cloud computing solution for their entire organisation. Over half (54.2 percent) said they were not pursuing a single cloud computing initiative.
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