As just about everyone in enterprise IT knows, the computing cloud has arrived, but there is a big elephant in the cloud as suggested by a panel conducted Tuesday at Enterprise 2.0.
“What are the benefits of the cloud,” asked Alex Wolfe, the panel moderator? Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.
Cisco’s Murali Sitaram tried to answer with a question of his own: “How do you measure productivity?”
The answers prove elusive, probably because the cloud-computing phenomenon is new and is just gaining traction. But panelists indicated the cloud will improve productivity even now in its infancy.
Another panelist, Ted Schadler of Forrester Research, suggested CIOs should listen to their staffs and survey them. When a project has been 80% built, then survey their staffs again so productivity gains can be measured. Schadler has authored a new book entitled “Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers and Transform Your Business.” His thesis is that many enterprise employees have better technology “at home than at work. They are empowered. Employees know what to do.”
Schadler indicated there could be a sort of tug-of-war developing between technology-empowered employees, usually young, and CIOs who want platforms to deliver some order and discipline to the rapidly-developing cloud. Schadler said: “We’re seeing bets on platforms starting to rise.”
Sitaram, who is head of Cisco’s Enterprise Collaboration Platform, has been placing bets, too, on Cisco’s cloud platforms. He argues that to be successful, cloud platforms will have to be “open.” He notes that platform and other cloud standards are just now beginning to be established.
Responding to Wolfe’s question about whether video in the cloud will take off, Sitaram said video is already on the rise in the cloud and he expects it will gain momentum as prices of video communications including video conferencing continue to drop.
Another panelist, J.P. Rangaswami, CIO and chief scientist at BT Design, countered that there will be times when cloud participants won’t want to be seen. “There will be times when people won’t want to be seen,” he said, adding that people will have many different communications choices in cloud computing ranging from tweets, instant messaging, email, and others. ”CIOs,” he said,” are learning very quickly how to get out of the way.”