CIO Decisions

The economics of cloud computing

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Cloud computing economics 101

Cloud computing economics defy easy calculations. This issue of 'CIO Decisions' e-zine explores how to put a dollar amount on the benefits and drawbacks of cloud.

If you've got your head in the clouds -- or, more accurately, your enterprise's IT infrastructure in the cloud -- then you've probably already done a lot of thinking about cloud computing economics, or the costs involved with moving your It operations off-site. Like any good student, you've probably calculated the millions you could save in labor costs and capital investment, and balanced that against the potential downsides, such as a data breach in the cloud, which could land you in some pretty hot water with your clients, customers or even the government.

As SearchCIO Features Writer Kristen Lee explains in this issue of CIO Decisions, cloud computing economics are complicated no matter how much homework you do, and formulas breaking down the costs of in-house infrastructure vs. cloud services aren't cut and dry when security is involved.

"It's always perception that we're battling, right?" says Cynthia Nustad, CIO at Health Management Systems Inc., who says data is her organization's life blood but also potentially its downfall if not properly stored. "If a client perceives for any reason that there's less security, it's not worth the hassle to try to dissuade them, because it's always going to be a 'gotcha' if something does go bump in the night, God forbid."

How much is it worth to Nustad -- or any CIO -- to have that data at the ready and under the enterprise's roof 100% of the time? How many dollars is the cloud worth if therein lies the potential to unlock new areas of business and reshape enterprise operations? Those are the kinds of unanswerable questions that drive cloud computing economics, but the practitioners and analysts in this issue give you the best possible chance of moving to the head of the class.

Also in this issue, we report on two-speed IT and agility at John Deere, provide an up-close-and-personal take on the chief data officer, and offer our best expert advice on how to not only build, but successfully monetize, a mobile app.

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