I'm delighted to be attending The 451 Group's 3rd Annual Client Conference at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston today.
This event provides an excellent opportunity for customers of The 451 Group to get in-depth analysis directly from the 451 analysts. It is also a unique opportunity to meet, learn from and do business with the audience of startup and incumbent vendor executives, venture capital and investment bankers, and IT management.
Some brief highlights thus far:
Martin McCarthy, CEO of The 451 Group, opened with a brief note about how the role of the CIO is changing. In the past, he noted, it has been a "thankless job" which, if done well, is not noticed. As pressure mounts to reduce costs and produce more IT systems faster and faster, CIOs are now value creators via, e.g. analysis and reduction of energy usage, managing a portfolio of internal, outsource and cloud/SaaS services.
Dan Golding, VP and Research Director for Tier1 Research, then spoke about the emergence of SaaS, cloud computing and managed service delivery platforms. He told vendors "if you aren't selling to these platforms, your competitors will be, and your customers will be buying these services in future". The key, in his view, is the cost savings and agility that these new services bring. He noted that CRM and email are the first applications to succeed in this market, but commodities like accounting and ERP will follow. Many questions about security came up during the Q&A.
During the Eco-Efficient IT session, panelist Andrew Stokes of Deutsche Bank brought up something really interesting: the cost to power a server for a year now generally exceeds the price of the server itself! All panelists agreed that more investment and innovation in power conservation is coming, and early adopters are reaping rewards now.
Rachel Chalmers, Research Director at The 451 Group, answered many of the security questions around cloud computing models by pointing out that thus far there have been outages but no publicly reported security breaches. She said that companies adopting cloud/SaaS are very security conscious and usually select vendors who are even more secure then they are. She expected companies that let security concerns keep them from moving to this model to suffer setbacks.
In a few moments I'll be sitting down with Nick Patience and several other panelists to discuss The Changing Face of Information Management. More on that in the next post.