Count us among the critics of SOPA and PIPA, the two ill-conceived bills that were intended to protect American firms against copyright infringement by foreign websites.
We agree with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who writes, "There is no contradiction between intellectual property rights protection and enforcement and ensuring freedom of expression on the Internet." But these bills are too loosely defined and could result in a slew of unintended consequences that would be bad for the Internet and bad for business. We need to stop these bills in their track and require more study.
Now back to our normally scheduled program ... We just wrapped up some research on the mega trend that was top of mind in 2011 and will certainly be a big focus here in 2012: cloud computing. Here are a few of the data points that jumped out at me.
Cloud, of course, is already with us. Any company that uses a payroll service or something like Salesforce.com is employing cloud computing, so it comes as no surprise that of the nearly 300 enterprise IT shops surveyed, 55% say they have at least one application supported in a cloud environment.
What is somewhat surprising is these folks say they have already allocated 10% of their budgets to cloud computing (taking into account software, services, training and related costs). Not surprising is that most of them expect this number to climb. Asked what will happen to their cloud budget over the next 12 months, 57% said it will increase while 42% said it will stay the same (1% said it will decline).
There are many potential benefits driving interest in cloud, including the opportunity to drive down costs, but there is a hump to get over. Asked if they anticipate that cloud will save them money in the long-term but drive up short-term costs, 16% of the respondents strongly agreed, 45% agreed, 19% disagreed and 4% strongly disagreed (the rest said they weren't sure or that it wasn't applicable).
Part of the problem, they say, is the contract process. When we posed the statement, "Cloud vendor contracts aren't structured to allow us to easily evaluate costs and/or ROI," 14% strongly agreed, 39% agreed, 23% disagreed and 3% strongly disagreed (some 18% weren't sure and 3% said it didn't apply to them).
We'll explore these and other issues in our ongoing Enterprise Cloud Services supplement series throughout 2012.