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Managing technology providers to meet business initiatives: A CIO guide

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Can cloud ROI formula and agility trump potential cost savings?

In their pursuit of cloud, some CIOs are placing a premium on an effective cloud ROI formula and are focusing on cloud agility, tweet jammers said.

Our most recent #CIOChat on cloud economics was a busy one, brimming with conversations about hidden costs, security issues, cloud sprawl, exit strategies and arguments for public vs. private cloud. All this talk made one thing quite obvious: Implementing cloud technologies is no easy task, and priorities differ not only across industries, but also across departments in a single company.

Can an effective cloud ROI formula and a focus on cloud agility trump speed bumps along the way and make up for some less-robust-than-anticipated cloud savings? We asked our tweet jam participants just that:

An ROI formula provides a way to evaluate how well an organization is managing its expenses and the extent of cost savings realized -- a calculation that is much easier said than done. According to our tweet jam expert, Wellesley College CIO Ravi Ravishanker, certain intangibles factor into ROI:

More on the cloud economics tweet jam

Preparing an exit strategy for cloud computing

The hidden costs of cloud impact IT

Cloud service implementation is often driven by users' desire for easy information access and the ability to collaborate with co-workers seamlessly, so their wishes are an essential component in the calculation of a cloud ROI formula, albeit one that's tough to reduce to strict dollars and cents. Here are other factors to consider when implementing cloud and calculating ROI:

Not every tweet jammer was gung-ho about prioritizing a company's cloud ROI formula over cost savings -- in fact, several participants posited that ROI is overrated:

The conversation shifted to agility, specifically whether or not improved cloud agility is a more valuable outcome than cost-cutting when it comes to cloud:

What do you think? Would improved agility motivate you to move to the cloud, even if potential cost savings were lower than you hoped? Do you have a cloud ROI formula? Let us know in the comments section below.

To view the entire cloud economics tweet jam conversation, search "#CIOChat" on Twitter and join SearchCIO for our next tweet jam on Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. (topic and expert TBA).

This was first published in October 2013

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Essential Guide

Managing technology providers to meet business initiatives: A CIO guide

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