Author
 John Soat

Profile of John Soat

News & Commentary Posts: 512
Articles by John Soat

Five Predictions Concerning Cloud Computing

6/30/2010
It may be presumptuous to make predictions about cloud computing, since the cloud has such little history and is almost all about future potential. But here are a few prognostications, based on trends that have established the current cloud-computing paradigm.

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The Effect of Cloud Computing On IT Staff

6/29/2010
According to a new survey, there are significant discrepancies between what IT management thinks of cloud computing and the opinion of IT staffers. Is it because staffers view the cloud as a threat, and are they correct to do so?

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Cloud Computing Expands Mandate, Influence

6/17/2010
At this point in its evolution, cloud computing remains mostly identified with software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (including storage) (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). But the cost effectiveness of virtualized, dispersed, multi-tenant computing services is making the cloud appropriate and appealing in all manner of digital arenas.

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The Worth of Cloud Computing

6/16/2010
How do you measure the business value of cloud computing? Do traditional IT metrics like ROI and TCO apply? How can the benefits of business agility be applied to the bottom line?

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Back To the Future of Cloud Computing

6/14/2010
How is IT going to evolve over the next ten years, as we transition to the cloud? The Pew Research Center's latest survey has plenty of educated, insightful opinion on that topic, from the future of the desktop to escalating problems with security. Oh, and are you ready for the "Internet of things"?

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Cloud Computing Is An Evolution of IT, Not An Overthrow

6/8/2010
Despite the "inmates running the asylum" aspect of software-as-a-service, cloud computing should not be looked on as an overthrow or elimination of IT. For large organizations, it simply can't be. The challenge, then, is figuring out how to reconcile, integrate, and optimize, internal and external cloud capabilities.

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The Cloud Wars Will Be Won Desktop By Desktop

6/3/2010
When one thinks of software-as-a-service, you're likely to think of enterprise-type applications, like customer-relationship management (CRM) or human resource software. However, it is in the environment of personal productivity software, like word processing and spreadsheet applications, where the real cloud computing battles are likely to be fought (and won).

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Cloud Computing Is a Disruptive Business Process

6/2/2010
Make no mistake, the cloud is a disruptive force in IT. Like the PC, which introduced the consumerization of IT, and the Internet, which networked the global village, the cloud represents a radical restructuring of how IT services are created and deployed. And with anything truly radical, there is a certain amount of pain that comes with the gain.

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Five Fundamentals of Cloud Engagement

6/1/2010
There are five fundamental factors that potential users should make sure they explore when considering a cloud computing engagement. Here's the checklist, and the most important issues connected with each one.

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Government Is Out-Clouding the Private Sector

5/28/2010
Are government agencies outpacing their corporate counterparts in cloud computing? That might seem to be the case, given the recent exposure around government cloud initiatives. However, it may be that governments and corporations have different agendas when it comes to the cloud.

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Private Clouds: Unassigned Territory

5/27/2010
The public cloud is a given. Software-as-a-service now rings true with most IT managers and infrastructure-as-a-service is at least a familiar concept, owing to its similarity to data-center co-location and outsourcing. Private clouds, on the other hand, are much less familiar, and much more intimidating, to judge from recent feedback.

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Look, Ma, No Hardware!

5/26/2010
Cloud computing spells the end of the glass house, according to some radical prognostications, representing an industry imperative summed up in a paraphrase of President Ronald Reagan: "Mr. CIO, tear down this data center." Then again, some forecasters see a boom in hardware sales, and a reinvigoration of the IT discipline, connected to an embrace of the cloud. The truth, as is usually the case, is likely somewhere in the middle.

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Cloud 2.0: Are We There Yet?

5/25/2010
Cloud computing is still partly hype, part reality. Broken down into its constituent parts (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) it is a pragmatic strategy with a history of success. But the concept of "the cloud" still has some executives scratching their heads over what's real, what's exactly new about it, and how it fits into their IT plans. Is it time to move to Cloud 2.0?

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Is Uncle Sam a Role Model for Cloud Computing?

5/24/2010
Perhaps more of an object lesson than a prime example. The fed's fits and starts around cloud computing seem typical of an organization trying to adopt (and adapt to) a disruptive new business process. What's the takeaway? Stick to the vision, and serve the customer.

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The Cloud Calls for New Skills

5/21/2010
Software-as-a-service ushered in the era of cloud computing. SaaS featured one-size-fits-all applications that customers could tap online to exploit the advantages of the cloud: availability, flexibility, scalability. But to really employ and deploy cloud computing to its fullest measure, enterprises need to learn to write their own cloud-oriented applications.

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Privacy: The Cloud's Achilles' Heel?

5/20/2010
Security and privacy are both important issues in relation to cloud computing. And while it's easy to lump them together, security and privacy are really two separate issues, related but different. They need to be treated that way.

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The Cloud Does Not Mean Less Work

5/19/2010
The word "abdicate" has cropped up in this blog in the last several days, as in "Since when does IT abdicate responsibility for [fill in the blank]…" There seems to be an impression that cloud computing means less work for IT, whether it's pushing security responsibility to end users or business managers, or ceding responsibility for performance to the service providers themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cloud computing means just as much work for IT (or somebody)

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Is Every Application a Cloud Application?

5/18/2010
Software-as-a-service is at the forefront of the cloud computing trend. Successful implementations of applications in the SaaS model have blazed a trail to the cloud. But is every application potentially a cloud application? To flip it around, are there certain applications that inherently do not lend themselves to the cloud computing paradigm? If so, maybe we ought to figure those out now before someone gets burned.

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Don't Bother Me With That Cloud Stuff (Or, The End of IT As We Know It)

5/14/2010
Like the PC, much of the initial implementation of cloud computing came in through the corporate back door, in the form of software-as-a-service engagements initiated through business units. That "outside IT" trend accelerated when end users found they could access online applications over the corporate network. Now IT managers admit they don't know exactly how much cloud computing there is going on in their organizations. Is this (finally) the end of IT as we know it?

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Do You Have/Need a Cloud Computing Strategy?

5/13/2010
The short answer is probably not/probably so. The cloud is not a point solution or a short-term fix, though it is tempting to view it that way. The cloud is a shift in computing architecture and IT philosophy that demands a serious strategic approach to understand where it fits within your overall technology deployment blueprint now and going forward.

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The Upfront Is All-Important

5/12/2010
When it comes to a cloud computing engagement, whether it's software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or platform-as-a-service (PaaS), the upfront is all-important. That's because there are so many variables to be accounted for during the length of the engagement, as well as at the back end, that a detailed accounting of what to expect from your service provider and your rights in the relationship is mandatory.

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Public Vs. Private Vs. Hybrid

5/7/2010
As if cloud computing weren't a hard enough concept to grasp, there are gradations emerging that make the concept even more complicated. Relax. It's a natural evolution, as the capabilities behind the cloud concept become more explicit. What's important is to realize the potential and start planning for it.

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Auditability and Compliance in the Cloud

5/6/2010
One of the nagging negative aspects of cloud computing is its ability, or lack thereof, to allow for adequate auditability and to ensure regulatory compliance issues are being addressed. It might surprise some skeptics that a significant portion of the SaaS community is comfortable with what their service providers offer in that regard.

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How Do You Get There From Here?

5/4/2010
So you've been hearing about the benefits of cloud computing: speed to market, cost control, flexibility. And you've read a couple of interesting case studies. But now you're wondering: How do I get there from here? First recommendation: Don't do anything drastic, like blowing up your data center. Instead, keep it simple and stay focused.

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The Cloud's Biggest Benefit? (That's a Question)

4/30/2010
What is cloud computing's biggest benefit? Is it cost savings? Time to market? Flexibility? Write down your answer on a piece of paper (if that's an unfamiliar concept, just note it in your iPhone), then take it out and look at it six months from now and see if you would still come to the same conclusion.

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It Takes a Partnership

4/29/2010
One of the best ways to ensure a successful cloud computing initiative is by partnering up: Get someone (or some-ones) on the business side to agree to invest as much in terms of risk and sweat equity in a SaaS implementation as you plan to invest from your IT budget and resources. Chances are, those potential partners are out there.

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The Elements of the Cloud

4/28/2010
The cloud is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Cloud computing is something of a catch-all term that refers to various styles of computing using distinct components and strategies and answering diverse needs. Understanding the styles and strategies, and where they may fit in your organization, is key to understanding the benefits of cloud computing.

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Allaying the Anxiety of the New

4/22/2010
Cloud computing is a new concept that has created a good deal of anxiety in organizations at almost every level, especially at the top. One way to overcome that anxiety is to recognize in cloud computing similarities with successful (note emphasis) past IT practices.

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Transparency And Trust: Vital Concepts In Cloud Computing

4/15/2010
Transparency is a vital concept when it comes to cloud computing. Indeed, at this stage in the evolution of the cloud, transparency is one of the most important criteria by which to judge a cloud computing engagement. That's because performance and security are two of cloud computing's most elemental and essential offerings.

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Wells Fargo CIO: No Budget Cuts Yet

8/28/2008
Agreeing that the banking industry "is challenged from a financial perspective," the San Francisco firm's tech chief says demand for IT services is growing and the IT group sees itself as an equal partner within the organization -- and more than that.

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Expectation Inflation

8/12/2008
One way IT organizations are dealing with the weak economy is by postponing new hires. Does that mean IT projects are not being completed, expectations not being met? Or are current IT employees being asked to pick up the load? Let me guess.

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CIO Compensation Continues To Rise

8/8/2008
That's as part of the continuing increase in management compensation, according to recruiting and placement firm ExecuNet. Market forces like globalization and the retiring baby-boomer bulge are keeping executive talent in demand, which is a good thing for job offers and pay hikes. But is the CIO the only IT job category benefiting?

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How Long Do CIOs Last?

8/6/2008
It's not for nothing CIO has been said to stand for "career is over" -- the tenure at the top of the tech pecking order has been notoriously short. However, according to our Tomorrow's CIO analytics report, more than half of tech chiefs (53%) say they've been in their jobs five years or more. Does this signal a new age of job security for CIOs?

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The CIO Was Right: Web 2.0 Is Dangerous

7/30/2008
CIOs have gotten a reputation -- rightly or wrongly -- for dragging their feet when it comes to Web 2.0 initiatives like social networks and application mash-ups. The reason: security. Now it appears they may have been justified.

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You Think You Have Problems?

7/24/2008
Despite cuts to both capital and operating budgets, the CIO of Oakland County, Mich., is bullish on the prospects of keeping his IT group efficient and serving his customers effectively.

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Tomorrow's CIO: Biz Cred Counts

7/16/2008
With today's economic convolutions, it goes without saying that CIOs and tech leaders need a firm grounding in business and finance, and that will only increase in importance in the future. How firm a grounding? Here's a hint: Look around for a business unit that needs management help.

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Is Your Company Still Hiring IT Workers?

7/8/2008
According to Bureau Of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are a glimmer of light in a darkening employment picture. Good news but surprising, given an anticipated retrenchment in IT spending. Will that bullish employment outlook last?

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Greener Grass In Financial Services

7/2/2008
As my colleague Marianne Kolbasuk McGee pointed out in a recent blog, while the financial services industry is under a dark cloud these days there appears to be green grass in some organizations (literally and figuratively), at least in terms of IT positions. Take a look at Fidelity Investments, which just hired two new tech chiefs away from competitors.

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IT Budgets: Still Guardedly Optimistic?

6/30/2008
InformationWeek last week held its annual Editorial Advisory Board meeting. The Editorial Advisory Board is made up of several leading CIOs (and former CIOs) and technology-oriented executives and investors. The most incendiary topic: the economy.

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CIO: The Buck Doesn't Stop Here

6/24/2008
How involved are CIOs in corporate decisions? Fewer report being involved at the front end of important decisions, more being brought in only afterward. That's not a good sign.

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The Aggressive IT Department

6/23/2008
Is it important for IT departments to be perceived as aggressive? Because they aren't. In our recent "Tomorrow's CIO" research survey of 720 corporate managers and CIOs and VP-of-IT level executives, only 6% of those on the corporate side describe their IT departments as more aggressive than the rest of the company. Is that bad, or business as usual?

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Who Is Tomorrow's CIO?

6/17/2008
We're looking for nominations for the future leaders in business technology, or those already in place, who have the right stuff to lead their companies into the dynamic and demanding business environment of the 21st century.

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Data: The CIO's Most Underutilized Asset

6/16/2008
In my recent feature story, "Tomorrow's CIO," one interesting fact that emerged from the original research we did for the piece concerned the use of data: Corporate managers see leveraging their organizations' data assets as one of the CIO's most important opportunities. So why don't more CIOs see it that way?

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Tomorrow's CIO: Process Before Technology

6/11/2008
Which comes first: process improvement or technology implementation? If you answered the former, congratulations, you are well on your way to being Tomorrow's CIO. If you answered the latter, well, good luck with that patch-management project because that's what you're going to be doing for a long time to come.

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How Tech Savvy Does A CIO Need To Be?

6/10/2008
One of the areas explored in our upcoming feature story and analytical report, "Tomorrow's CIO," has to do with just how technical CIOs will need to be in the future. Will technology expertise be off-loaded, or will CIOs still need to call the shots, systems- and software-wise?

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Energy Woes? Blame The CIO!

6/9/2008
A new survey puts responsibility for managing an organization's energy consumption primarily on the CEO, then on the CIO. There's a difference between responsibility and liability, but either way CIOs have to do more to influence corporate energy use.

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More Than A CIO: Piling On Operations

6/3/2008
HSBC North America, "the world's local bank," according to its tagline, has promoted its CIO to something called a Chief Technology and Services Officer. I'm all for CIOs taking on more responsibilities, but is there a limit?

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Tomorrow's CIO: The Qualifications

5/28/2008
What are the attributes that make for a good CIO, today and going forward? Here's another peek at our "Tomorrow's CIO" research survey results, specifically the attributes and abilities both CIOs and executive management are looking for in top technology talent. How does this line up with your own ideas about what it will take to prepare for the challenges of Tomorrow's CIO?

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Architect, Sure, But Of What?

5/28/2008
The CIO is generally thought of as an architect -- traditionally of a company's IT structure and strategy and, increasingly, potentially, of a company's overall business processes. However, not everyone, it seems, is willing to make the leap to the CIO-as-process-guru hypothesis.

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Cleveland Rocks!

5/27/2008
How did the CIO of a rust-belt financial firm buffeted by the mortgage meltdown mess pull out a big win in Cambridge, Mass., last week? Here's a hint: Make the most of what you've got.

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The Consumer Effect In Beantown

5/20/2008
Boston is a bitter pill for a fan of the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Cavaliers, such as myself. But I guess I'll make the best of it. I'm here to cover -- and participate in -- the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, which got off to a rousing start with a night-before visionary speech by the CIO of Verizon.

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CIO: A Lot To Live Up To

5/19/2008
Especially if it stands for "Chief Innovation Officer," which is what Citi has in mind for the acronym. Is it a corporate turning point or management hocus-pocus?

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CIO To CEO: It Can Happen

5/13/2008
How many CIOs make it to CEO? Frankly, you can count them on one hand. But if that's what you want from your career, there's hope: Here's one who made it.

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Savvy CIOs Market Their Successes

5/7/2008
If you want your IT group to be thought of as a center of innovation for your organization, you've got to get the attention of business management. Internal marketing can help.

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8 Trends In IT CIOs Can't Ignore

5/5/2008
Accenture's chief scientist sees several IT trends emerging over the next 36 months that CIOs need to embrace. Hint: One leads to the CIO becoming the Chief Intelligence Officer. If you like the sound of that, read on.

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Don't Be A Control Freak

4/18/2008
How can CIOs control the end run around IT? They can't -- that's the lesson from a new CIO survey. Live with it, loosen up, and keep track of where IT dollars actually are going.

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What's The Hardest CIO Job?

4/17/2008
It must be tough to run IT in a big bank these days, what with all the regulation and oversight going on. Logistics and shipping companies put a strain on IT systems. Google's CIO just left, perhaps for good reason. However, my nomination for the toughest CIO job is ...

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CIOs And Spring Cleaning

4/3/2008
Given everything that's going on right now -- talk of recession, the presidential election, the baseball season starting up -- it's a good time for tech chiefs to take stock and do a little (or maybe a lot of) housekeeping. Here are a few thoughts.

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The New Age Of Innovation

4/2/2008
Is there a new paradigm for business in the 21st century? The authors of a new book say yes, and CIOs will need to play a prominent role in it -- or they won't, to their detriment.

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CIO As Acquisition Partner

3/31/2008
Is the CIO an effective position to enlist in your company's mergers and acquisitions strategy? It makes sense, given that integration is one of the major challenges in an M&A move, particularly integration of the IT variety.

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And The Survey Says …

3/28/2008
The CIO must be the most surveyed profession on the planet. No wonder a new survey says CIOs are dissatisfied with their jobs -- they're tired of being surveyed.

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The CIO And SharePoint

3/28/2008
Why should CIOs pay close attention to this particular Microsoft product (as opposed to the myriad others you support in your organization)? Because it's viral (meaning its use is probably growing in your company, whether you know it or not), and it needs to be managed closely to get the most of out it.

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Recession And IT Attitude

3/26/2008
It's part of a CIO's job to keep things positive in the IT organization. How are your IT colleagues holding up under the pressure of economic uncertainty?

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The Recession And IT Hiring

3/24/2008
Has the (possibility of) recession affected your company's IT hiring plans? Because a lot of organizations say that that will be the first thing to go.

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When Google Speaks …

3/20/2008
... CIOs should listen. Google's CIO Douglas Merrill gave a (brief) interview to The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. Plenty of IT people picked up on it. If you haven't read it, you need to.

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AMD Names New CIO

3/12/2008
He's Ahmed Mahmoud, and he comes to the chipmaker from the IT shop at Dell, which has had its share of high-profile IT alumni.

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