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Cloud computing and the changing role of the CIO

Will cloud computing make the role of the information technology department and chief information officer obsolete?

If not, it will sure change the roles.

After seeing a demonstration of how easy it was for a relatively naïve user to set up his own computer and define an Internet Protocol address online without the help of an  IT department employee, James Harvey, an enterprise architect with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, began to think that in some ways cloud computing could make IT obsolete.

At Metro there are people whose job it is to fill out paper work describing which IP addresses are assigned to users. “If that work can be eliminated and turned into productivity that is a good thing,” he said. So ultimately, IT has to be on the side of getting more value per dollar spent rather than on the side of people who fill out forms and copy them over and over, he said.

Harvey spoke on a panel May 4th that focused on cloud computing successes, which was held by 1105 Government Information Group in Washington, D.C.

The chief information officer role as it is today is going to be obsolete because “you’re not going to be primarily operating servers that you own in a data center,” said Chris Kemp, NASA’s chief technology officer and the force behind Nebula, NASA’s cloud computing environment.

“But I think the role changes significantly and will become more difficult. You actually might need more resources to pull it off, he said.

“If you can’t provide a service to your employees for less than what Amazon offers then they’re going to bring that into your enterprise. The role of the CIO is game time,” Kemp said.

CIOs have to figure out how to deliver services for less money and more conveniently. As a result, enterprise architecture will become more significant aiding in issues of integration, interoperability and portability, he said.

Posted by Rutrell Yasin on May 11, 2010 at 12:11 PM


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