CIOs To VARs: We Don't Have Time To Be Cloud Experts


Midsize CIOs want to move to the cloud -- and they want solution providers to show them how, according to a panel of end-user executives at the CRN Solution Provider 500 conference in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday.

The group of four CIOs are all looking to move more applications and IT functions to the cloud as a means to free up their own resources, lower costs and be more productive, said the executives.

"I have zero right now [in the cloud], but I've done a lot of research on what my peers are doing on the government side and it's opened my eyes. I'm rethinking that it wasn't worthy of my time. I can see 50 percent [of IT in the cloud] in the next few years," said Jim Murphy, CIO of the City of Quincy, Ill.

Another panelist, Niel Nickolaisen, CIO at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, noted that senior management at his midsize organization have started to recognize the power that cloud and IT can yield throughout the organization. Successful transitions to new technology make it easier to get future projects budgeted, he said.

"If we in IT have a track record of making really good decisions, budgets are pretty easy to come by. We've done a good enough job of improving the throughput of IT, enough that the university president asked me what I needed for IT. I gave him a number and he said, 'You need more because you'll do good with it,' " Nickolaisen said.

While it's not every IT budget that gets that carte blanche treatment, the CIOs said solution providers can be a valuable asset in getting projects completed by being true partners with the newest technology and a solution-based approach.

"I'm not looking to simply buy a blade server. I'm looking to buy a solution. I need a partner that is going to be here to educate me, to inform me. Take the time to do that. I'm not trying to buy a used car. It takes months of education to get to the point where a solution makes sense to me," said James Fielder, vice president of information systems at Farm Credit Services of Illinois.

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