For those that needed just a little more proof, Gartner (news, site) has confirmed cloud computing is hot. In fact, cloud technology is so hot that it topped Gartner’s 2011 CIO Agenda. Even if you managed to resist the siren of prime time TV beckoning, “To the cloud!”, it’s unlikely you’ll want to ignore the voices of over 2,000 CIOs .

The Cloud

Gartner released its survey of 2,014 CIOs representing more than US$ 160 billion in spending across 50 countries and 38 industries. Cloud computing, virtualization and mobile led the list of technical priorities.


In addition to selecting cloud computing as a top priority, CIOs responding to the survey expected to adopt new cloud services quickly. Currently, only three percent of organizations operate most of their IT in the cloud or on a software as a service (SaaS) platform. Over the next four years, 43 percent of CIOs want to transition to a cloud dominated infrastructure. The countless vendors working to perfect their own cloud strategy and offerings will welcome these findings.

Gartner’s findings indicate that cloud computing has moved beyond the “sexy trend” phase into the mainstream. Even conservative organizations are beginning to embrace the cost savings and rapid technology adoption that the cloud can offer. According to Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner Executive Programs,

are well-suited for this budget reality, as they offer similar service levels at lower budget costs."

The survey suggested that CIOs anticipate adoption of cloud technologies will free 35 to 50 percent of infrastructure and operational resources and allow them to be re-directed to more strategic concerns.

Content and Engagement

Web 2.0, collaboration and mobile were also recognized as top 10 technology priorities for 2011. Selection of these items is likely related to the CIOs 2011 business priorities. Business priorities include:

  • Attracting and retaining new customers
  • Reducing enterprise costs
  • Improving business processes
  • Improving operations

Mobile device subscriptions are 400 percent greater than internet subscriptions. Technology departments that want to provide solutions that support their organization in “attracting and retaining new customers” cannot ignore the huge mobile market, vendors certainly aren't. Alterian (newssite) recently announced a partnership with bemoko to address the mobile channel; this was likely a good strategic move given that in 2011, CIOs will be striving to become very good at mobile very fast.

Enterprise content management (ECM) vendors have already recognized that they can leverage many of the CIOs top technology priorities to provide integrated solutions that directly address business concerns. ECM firms are actively offering engagement management solutions that leverage Web 2.0, collaboration, content management and mobile to more comprehensively engage and attract customers. In many cases, these solutions also reduce costs and improve operational efficiency because they provide a more holistic view of information and speed response time and reduce the amount of human intervention required to support enterprise processes.

The Gartner survey suggests that IT will be changing dramatically over the next few years, driven by technology that was recently considered “too cutting” edge for wide spread adoption. CIOs will be consistently challenged with supporting growth while reducing cost and improving operational efficiency. Piece of cake, right?