Cloud services: Are CIOs and CFOs on the same page?

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If you missed the latest IT Strategy and Performance webcast, “Does IT matter when you’ve got cloud and SaaS?” stop reading this blog post and watch it now — unless you like spoiler alerts. The webinar posed the hot-button question, “When it comes to cloud services, are CIOs and CFOs at odds, or on the same page?”

 

OK, now that you’ve had fair warning, I have to share the second-best quote from the gloves-off CIO-CFO debate:

 

“If bad IT is playing with matches, bad cloud is playing with dynamite.”

 

That pithy summary is courtesy of Toby Redshaw, a former CIO who currently helms Kevington Advisors. Redshaw explains that when cloud computing goes awry, the “explosions…security risks, and the back-out problems that you have are much worse than if you’ve got something sitting…inside your datacenter.” But Redshaw isn’t down on the cloud, he’s merely advocating that companies be discerning when seeking cloud solutions. He clarifies his point, noting: “In the cloud, there are really good products and really valuable solutions. And there are some awful ones.” He defines “good cloud” as being designed for a “zero-training footprint. You turn it on and you use it.”

 

In the webcast, Redshaw sparred with Sean Sloan, CFO at Dana Pacific, about cloud services in the enterprise. Sloan held his ground throughout—not surprising, as Sloan has had a hand in shaping SaaS and cloud computing for nearly 15 years, and remembers when cloud companies were called application service providers (ASPs).

 

Sloan surmises that SaaS is gaining traction because wary CFOs no longer trust in-house IT to get it right. “I remember a time when there wasn’t an SAP implementation…that was successful—not one,” Sloan recalls. “Guys like me were explaining to the shareholders and to the board why we agreed to do this. And we’re getting our heads chopped off left and right.”

 

It’s no secret that the CIO-CFO relationship can be contentious. Watching the webcast, it was quickly apparent to me that Redshaw and Sloan are not only whip-smart, but both are obviously passionate about their professions.

 

As with the previous webcast in the series (in which they volleyed the grenade “CIOs and CFOs: Can this relationship be saved?”), technology analyst Michael Krieger refereed brilliantly. I’m still not sure who won the most recent sparring match (or the first debate, for that matter), as both Sloan and Redshaw are well-matched opponents. They ably covered a lot of ground, including:

 

• Is this the end of enterprise IT?
• Can CIOs and CFOs find common cause in the cloud?
• How can you be SaaS smart?
• Who should be setting the strategy?
• How can CIOs thrive in a cloud and SaaS world?

 

At any rate, watching the webcast was 59 minutes well-spent. Oh, so what was the best quote from the webcast? Watch it now, and tell me what you think in the comments below.

Comments
Business Finance Consultants(anon) | ‎05-15-2013 02:14 AM

Cloud computing is really a very good resource to save large amount of data over the internet in a secured way, it also gives a benefit to get a centralized place to save all the data so it is a good resource for the companies. Thanks for the post.

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About the Author
Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.
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