Technology

Cloud Computing: Is the ROI Worth It?

By / Feb 19, 2013

A new survey shows that business executives are questioning whether the advantages of cloud computing outweigh the uncertainties it brings.

You’ve heard about the vaunted benefits of cloud computing, including improved efficiency, reduced costs, and better results. But a recent survey shows growing uncertainty among executives about security, integration, and return on investment.

The survey of IT professionals, conducted by The Open Group, determined that measuring return on investment (ROI) is seen as increasingly difficult. Organizations that reported having measurement mechanisms in place decreased from 30 percent in 2011 to a little more than 19 percent last year. Cost, quality, and speed were the most popular ROI metrics.

According to Forbes contributor Joe McKendrick, the survey results prove cloud computing’s ROI has become even more intangible than before. More than half of the respondents said they think cloud ROI would be hard to evaluate and justify in their organizations. Where do the doubts come from? It’s the shaky balance between costs and resources.

Lack of education: Is a cloud computing initiative right for your organization? Most survey respondents didn’t know enough about it to answer that question. Many responded they’re largely dissatisfied with the educational resources offered on cloud computing. This figure grew from 33 percent to 51 percent since the 2011 survey. Many fear that their organizations will face security and integration challenges if they install cloud initiatives.

Uncertain about change: The survey showed that the 92 percent of respondents are actively researching or have already implemented cloud services, a figure that didn’t change much from the 2011 survey. More than 82 percent believe a cloud initiative would significantly impact the way they run their business, yet more than half said they were only somewhat prepared for the changes the new system would bring to their business.

Finding the right tools: A cloud computing initiative requires a lengthy integration process within a business, and The Open Group’s director for interoperability and SOA, Chris Harding, says the right tools make a difference in terms of quality and efficiency. In a recent blog post, Harding compares business executives to pilots, explaining that without the proper instruments, they don’t have a good grasp on how to program a flight plan. “If we want better navigation, we must have better systems” for measuring cloud ROI, he writes, concluding that “we must develop standard cloud metrics and ROI models, so that [executives] can have instruments to measure success.”

Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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