November 23, 2010 – CIOs moving their companies to the cloud need more information ownership and preparation to withstand a lack of industry standards and avoid data silos like those seen in the past, according to recommendations from a leadership council led by EMC.

In its new report, the Leadership Council for Information Advantage surveyed more than 200 CIOs on their concerns with the cloud and made recommendations related to planning, deployment and governance. The group is headed by EMC, an information management and storage company, and includes CIOs from its customers involved in cloud initiatives, including Boeing, JPMorgan Chase and Fidelity. Council CIOs were not part of the survey, which included some EMC customers.

The council found that all CIOs surveyed were actively planning or moving their companies to the cloud, but that only 34 percent of those companies have a plan in place for information governance and access. That absence of preparation highlights some of the deeper issues with deployment and led to many of the recommendations by the council, says Andrea Leggett, EMC senior product marketing manager.

Paramount among the issues of many groups taking early steps toward the cloud is the risk of “data silos 2.0,” Leggett says. The report suggests an overarching business plan for clouds that includes more than just IT officers and involves integration across departments and with public and in-house clouds.

“With a cloud strategy, you go against active cloud services just popping up,” Leggett says.

Other recommendations from the council to CIOs new to the cloud include finding a low-risk test case for deployment, establish ownership of all information prior to a move to the cloud, and readying data sets across a business regardless of level of cloud migration.

With cloud computing standards still being debated, Leggett says that it’s up to cloud users to push vendors for standardization.

“There have been a lot of new things coming out with thoughts on what is a standard,” Leggett says.  

The council advised on insisting on clear documentation on data formats from cloud vendors with information architecture at the top of mind. The council noted that many services floated to the cloud may be more easy to integrate and standardize than in-house data systems, and cited CRM features with salesforce.com as an example.

Register here to download the report, "Creating Information Advantage in a Cloudy World: Intelligent Governance Strategies for Cloud Agility."

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