IT managers are starting to show more interest in cloud computing, but it is still far from a top priority and vendors are misjudging the reasons that their customers might opt for online services.
According to the second quarterly Computing/Cobalt Technology Baromoter, cloud computing is one of the few areas of technology that has risen in priority for IT decision-makers since the first survey three months ago although it is easily outranked by more established and lower-risk alternatives.
The barometer, produced in association with financial advisor Cobalt Corporate Finance, asks a standard set of questions to a panel of Computing readers and to Cobalt’s IT vendor clients to compare views on the key issues of the day.
Unsurprisingly, IT buyers are focusing on lower-risk technologies this year, and respondents said their biggest concern about moving to a cloud-based model is security.
“Buyers are far more concerned about security than vendors would like to think, and in some instances able to address,” said Cobalt partner Chris Williams.
“Moving to the cloud forces security to the surface partly because the cloud is not believed to be as secure and partly because it relinquishes control to a third party, which adds risk,” he said.
“The mismatch is more one of timing vendors believe the solutions are coming. Buyers are generally saying: ‘We are interested but prove security is good enough, otherwise we’ll wait and see’.”
IT managers also said remote working is the technology they expect to benefit most from the recession but IT suppliers highlighted software as a service, with remote working a distant third.
“Remote working is seen by buyers as part of the solution to reducing the fixed cost base of the enterprise and vendors do not seem to have picked up on the strength of this opportunity yet,” said Williams.
Other findings from the research show that vendors are becoming more confident about the economy picking up but IT managers are still cautious.
Suppliers are now more optimistic about employment levels increasing than they were when asked three months ago, but buyers continue to expect a slight fall in staff numbers.
And vendors also predict a small rise in IT spending in the next 12 months, while IT managers expect their budgets to fall.
Technology radar of IT priorities:
Barometer responses on employment and salaries:
Barometer responses on investment areas:
The Computing/Cobalt Technology Barometer how you can take
Computing’s reader research panel is composed of more than 4,500 UK IT managers. We surveyed the panel in March 2009 and received 222 completed responses. Cobalt surveyed its separate panel of 80 board-level executives in technology vendors.
Everyone contributing to Computing’s reader panel has an opportunity to win great prizes. If you would like to take part in future barometers and research studies, visit: www.incisiveopinion.com/it
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A discussion of the "risk perception gap", its implications and how it can be closed