Leaders at IBM and Cisco See Cloud Expertise Moving into the Executive Suite

“Any company needs to have a cloud strategy, and I believe that given the transformative nature of cloud computing, it needs C-level attention,” says Kristof Kloeckner, CTO of  enterprise initiatives and vice president of cloud computing platforms for IBM. He’s not the only one who thinks executives need to pay more attention.

“In many ways, cloud computing could be disruptive for Cisco as well as for Cisco’s consumers,” says Lew Tucker, Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer of Cloud Computing. “My role is to make sure that that disruption happens in a very positive way – that we can use it as an opportunity.”

Cloud technology is so disruptive because companies are dealing with a tech shift on several levels. First, they are changing their own IT structure. Traditionally, skills around IT have meant managing data centers and security, says Levie. That’s   changing ,he says, to figuring out how companies can become more productive by using the cloud.

One result: Business models start to change, and that requires the attention of someone in the executive suite who can make the connection between this technology and the corporate bottom line. “Some forward-looking executives are starting to ask the question: Is there a bigger transformation taking place? Maybe e-mails should be handled by Google, maybe sales and commissions should be handled by Salesforce,” says Tucker.

The pursuit of “a coherent cloud strategy” that encompasses technology, budgets and security requires that a true expert be in place. Will it be the CTO, or will it be a new CCTO? If nothing else, it shows why becoming smart about the cloud is even more important as you get ready for your next job.

— Don Willmott

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