It seems there is a new article almost every day talking about how CIOs and IT departments are fighting to maintain relevance in our changing economy and technology landscape. A recent Harvard Business Review post titled "Avoiding the Schizophrenic IT Organization" highlights the two opposing forces in today's IT departments. On one side there is a need to run complex, global infrastructure that is compliant and secure, and on the other side there is a need to provide IT value quickly to users. There is constant pressure for IT to provide value and innovation at light speed that supports the necessity of startups and the innovative products that startups bring to market.
For CIO's of both large and small organizations the cloud has been a transformational megatrend. Some CIO's (and CFO's) prefer the cloud, because it allows them to shift more IT spend to OpEx and preserve CapEx for strategic IT investments. Other CIO's like that the cloud is easy to access from just about any device and that cloud applications are easy to deploy, particularly in comparison to traditional on-premises applications. Startups take full advantage of the cloud, because it allows them to develop new products quickly and at low cost, while avoiding significant infrastructure investments. Many startups run their businesses fully on the cloud using commercial cloud applications that are readily available on application ecosystems like Salesforce.com's AppExchange. These same startups design and build their own products on a cloud platform like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google App Engine. If the founders of startups are leveraging the cloud to run their business for both internal IT, and product development, then CIO's can do the same thing.
At Enterasys, we have a long tradition of investing in startups and small businesses. We remember becoming a Salesforce.com customer in 2003 and since then we have demonstrated a rich history of collaborating with nimble and customer focused innovators. It is also rewarding for us to partner with startups that successfully go public like Marketo - a wonderful marketing partner for us. Today, we are partnering with some of the best technology startups to grow our business - see graphic below.