CIOs say cloud computing is really, truly a priority this time

We've heard that line before, but if CIOs are serious, here's how they can get started

In a recent survey of 2,000 CIOs, a Gartner report revealed that the execs' top tech priorities for 2013 include cloud computing in general, as well as its specific types: software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). No surprise there.

Of course, every year since 2008 has been deemed the "year of the cloud." Yes, small cloud projects exist and Amazon Web Services did not get to be a billion-dollar company due to a lack of interest. However, the adoption has been slow if steady. It isn't exploding, as everyone has predicted for each year.

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At least CIOs finally get it: Either figure out a way to leverage cloud technology, or get into real estate. Although this technology is still emerging, the value of at least putting together a plan and a few projects has been there for years. The business cases have always existed.

Despite those obvious needs, many CIOs have been secretly pushing back on cloud computing. Indeed, I suspect some CIOs did not respond to the Gartner survey honestly and will continue to kick plans to develop a cloud computing strategy further down the road.

You have to feel for some of the CIOs. Many of them have businesses to run, with massive amounts of system deployments and upgrades. Cloud computing becomes another task on the whiteboards to be addressed with their already strained resources. In many organizations, the cloud would add both risk and cost they're not prepared to deal with.

The right way to do this is to create a plan and do a few pilot projects. This means taking a deep dive into the details of existing systems and fixing those systemic issues that have been around for years. This should occur before you move to any platform, including those based in the cloud. Yes, it's more hard work for the CIO.

But if CIOs were honest in telling Gartner that the cloud is really a priority this time, they need to push forward with a sound cloud computing strategy and a few initial projects. We'll see this time if they really get to work on it. I look forward to following their progress.

This article, "CIOs say cloud computing is really, truly a priority this time," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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