Throughout history and throughout the world today, cries for freedom have been passionate and pervasive.

We see it in the news: The struggle for safety, human rights, religious expression, free speech, control of our finances - things we all need and deserve - is ongoing, and real-world battles occur every day.

The case for freedom is made throughout the world and, in a different way, within this issue.

We certainly can't compare the human stakes, but our questions have consequences. Who controls the data? Who drives the initiatives? What control can be relinquished in the name of efficiency? What freedoms unleash unrestricted use of information assets? People want the power. Freedom, control and power need to coexist. We hope for altruistic motives but don't always get them. What we can focus on are freedoms that help us innovate and be more productive in any endeavor.

Our cover story this month addresses the revolution underway in IT as the cloud enables not just on demand, but essentially self-service for business users and developers alike. Scott Morrison states, "Change is coming thanks to cloud computing: the trend that hides within it seeds of a genuine IT management revolution."

This issue also contains Information Management's updated list of 40 vendors we're watching in 2011, and as the IM staff researched the recommendations, themes of innovation through self-service, end-user enablement and developer creativity dominated - whether we were looking at cloud, analytics, visualizations or anything else.

DM Radio host Eric Kavanagh has a take on freedom from development constraints in Interface: "Let's expect that the push of proprietary thinking will give way to the pull of user demands. Let's cross our fingers and beckon a world of reasonable standards, where lock-in won't keep us down and transparency will free us. And let's remove the shackles from our designers - artists must be free in order to excel."

As you enjoy the issue, consider all the personal and professional freedoms we are fortunate to enjoy, and how much we have gained - and stand to gain going forward.

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