If you want to learn about a company's adoption of cloud computing, don't ask the CIO. He might be the last to know.
That's why surveys of CIOs tend to show meaningfully lower cloud adoption than similar surveys of developers, according to Geva Perry, an industry veteran and author of Thinking Out Cloud. Perry was one of the keynoters this week at the Cloud Connect conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
"The way adoption of cloud computing has worked is that it happens from the bottom up," said Perry. "With Amazon, it was a developer-driven adoption. Amazon understood this, and built its service so it was optimized for developers."
A similar phenomenon was seen with Salesforce.com, as the early adopters were sales teams frustrated with enterprise offerings for customer relationship management (CRM), rather than IT executives.
"This pattern isn't new," said Perry. "We have seen this before in open source software. The developers are the ones making the decision, whether management knows it or not."
The emergence of Amazon Web Services and instant provisioning of IT capacity with only a credit card has been a game changer for developers. It's part of the larger "consumerization" of enterprise IT, as employees uses to innovative mobile devices and web applications grow frustrated with the software they use at work.
"Why does the software we use in the enterprise suck so much compared to the software you use at home?" Perry asked. "To the enterprise, my advice is this: don't fight it. Find ways to make it work for your people."