Last Thursday, I was invited to chair a meeting of the Yorkshire Mafia CIO Forum to discuss “Cloud Computing – IT as a commodity”.

The round-table discussion, arranged by Yorkshire Mafia co-founder and iSource Group director Sat Mann, was attended by CIOs from BskyB Betting, Optima Law, William Hill, Call Credit, Provident Insurance, Cape Plc., Sue Ryder Group and Leeds University.

It was a very good event, which as well as providing some lively discussion among the group, further underpinned some of my thinking about ‘the Cloud’. The key points were:

• People still have very different opinions as to what cloud computing actually is;
• There is some agreement that cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming more of a commodity (especially in the areas of email, and systems such a HR management);
• There is some reluctance/hesitation among certain types of companies to put Line of Business (LOB) applications onto the public cloud, and this is mainly due to concerns about security and legislation;
• People seem willing to undertake private cloud projects and most of Thursday’s attendees have already embarked on some form of cloud project using VMware.

All of the above indicates that there is a growing understanding of what the cloud is and the benefits it can bring, and that companies, although sometimes hesitant to put certain applications into the cloud, are at least willing to try it out.

The introduction of legislative standards will go a long way in addressing concerns about security so it will be interesting to see how peoples’ perception about the associated risks might change over time.

It was a privilege to chair the forum and my thanks go to everyone involved and in particular to Sat for arranging it.

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