Cloud Computing Gets Some Lofty New Support

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Includes: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT
by: Jeffrey M. Kaplan

Among my predictions for 2009, was that the new Obama administration would push legislation and take other initiatives to promote Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing as part of its overhaul of the government and economic stimulus efforts.

Sure enough, Obama’s new CIO–Vivek Kundra–made it clear Thursday that he is a big proponent of SaaS and cloud computing. Here’s what he said to the Wall Street Journal,

“I’m a big believer in disruptive technology. If I went to the coffee shop, I would have more computing power than the police department. Consumers had better technology than the government did. I’m all about the cloud computing notion. I look at my lifestyle, and I want access to information wherever I am. I am killing projects that don’t investigate software as a service first.”

Support for SaaS and cloud computing isn’t only coming from the top of the governmental pyramid. Some of the country’s school systems and universities are also making a concerted effort to move to the cloud.

I’ve seen this first hand through the experiences of my three boys who are using Google Apps at the college, high school and middle school levels as a result of ad hoc prompting by a new generation of young teachers who are bringing SaaS tools into the classroom unilaterally to improve their teaching ability.

This ad hoc adoption of SaaS in the classroom is being encouraged by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) with a concerted sales and marketing effort which mirrors the successful campaign which Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) aimed at the classroom a decade ago that has produced a new generation of workers to the business world who prefer Macs instead of PCs.

Christian universities lead the way

Abilene Christian University is an example of how the ad hoc adoption process, combined with Google’s new sales and marketing efforts, are succeeding in pushing institutions to migrate to SaaS.

I had the privilege of moderating a session regarding SaaS, cloud computing and managed services for NetworkWorld’s IT Roadmap in Dallas. The university’s networking manager, Arthur Brandt, talked about their migration to Google Apps. He also revealed that their move was a part of a larger, nationwide migration of a couple dozen Christian universities. Click here to read more.

A SaaS vendor focused on the education sector, SchoolDude.com, recently conducted its 2nd annual survey of IT professionals working in K-12 education. The survey generated some interesting data about SaaS adoption patterns in the public education sector

  • 47% of the respondents are using at least one SaaS application
  • Ease of deployment (72%) and less technical support required (65%) were the greatest motivators
  • Data security is the biggest challenge (72%), interestingly this is up from 40% in last year’s survey

You can obtain an executive summary or register to get the full report and hear a webcast about the findings.

The bottom line: A new generation of SaaS/cloud computing adherents are quickly emerging from our schools. And, the Obama administration is going to become a key proponent of the SaaS/cloud computing movement.