Cloud computing is hogging the headlines at present, but its growth is almost in tandem with the increasing adoption of mobile computing by the workforce. At a special discussion last week leading providers of mobile focused cloud technologies discussed the topics around mobile cloud usage CIOs must consider.
But first, how important is the mobile cloud phenomena going to be? Frank Gens, an analyst with IDC, which shares the same parent company with CIO, says: "Cloud services are interconnected with and accelerated by other disruptive technologies, including mobile devices, wireless networks. Together, these technologies are merging into the industry's third major platform for long-term growth. As during the mainframe and PC eras, the new platform promises to radically expand the users and uses of information technology."
Another Frank, Gillet an analyst at Forrester Research agrees and wrote in his research note: "We forecast the number of users and paying subscribers to personal cloud services through 2016, and break down the business models behind what will become a $12 billion market.
Ted Schadler of Forrester Research wrote for CIO UK about the increasing empowerment of staff in CIO's organisations: "30 per cent of European information workers are solving customer and business problems using technology that they master first at home and then bring to work," he said of increasing use of mobile and cloud technology in the enterprise.
The analyst community believe mobile cloud will become a major focus for CIOs over the next few years. Below are some key points drawn from a wide ranging debate on what cloud and mobile will do to the enterprise and the issues CIOs need to consider in their adoption strategies.
1. Emerging markets - Jeffrey Peel an analyst and consultant with mobile specialists Quadriga Consulting began the discussion on a key note for CIOs at present, emerging markets and they're potential. In sub-Sahara Africa there are devices using the Google Android operating system for less than $50. These affordable devices are driving the already popular mobile internet access and Smartphone usage in the region.
2. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) - Software giant SAP is working with Samsung to deliver ERP onto the Galaxy tablet, which could radically alter the adoption of tablet devices in the enterprise, Peel noted. Adding that CIOs are going to need new skills to cope with the move to mobile, cloud and consumerisation of IT to react to the move of enterprise applications into the mobile cloud.
3. Transparency - CIOs and organisations will have to embrace greater transparency. "We invite our customers to change their mindset about transparency and they do not realise the risk of not being transparent," says eTask CEO and founder Juan Manrique of the attitude change required. eTask provides professional services automation for project management.
4. Greater collaboration - "People continue to work in silos, which increases the inefficiency of the organisation, cloud enables everyone to work in a more community way, it exposes weaknesses but is more collaborative. Public sector understands it now needs to be more transparent because of the economic situation they find themselves in," Manrique adds.
5. All clouds are over hyped - "The cloud is the Emperor's new clothes the complexity and cost are significant. Our research says only 21 per cent of CIOs are moving to the cloud, our survey was of a larger group than IDC recent findings," said Charles Davis, CEO of SAS Group a provider of managed network services.
6. Facebook can't make money on mobile, can you? - Over half of traffic to Facebook is mobile, but they don't carry advertising on their mobile site and that is their business model and if they don't understand the revenue opportunities then there is cause for concern, says Michael Douglas, marketing director of events mobile service GenieMobile.
7. Software testing needs to consider Apps - Another CIO concern for CIOs raised was that there needs to be a new software testing lifecycle for mobile apps, said Coverity Head of Marketing Chris Adlard of the security concerns CIOs face.
8. Asset costs - John Earley strategic development director at Metronet added another key security concern for CIO's to be aware of: "How do you protect your asset the iPhone is more expensive than a PC, and how do you protect the applications and data when there is no strong compliance, licensing models."