This is an excerpt from a piece originally published in Asia Cloud Forum / Computerworld Hong Kong. For the full insight go to Asia Cloud Forum / Computerworld Hong Kong.

Asian CIOs need to become more strategic and less operational.

According to McKinsey’s survey of global IT executives, IT spending on infrastructure will decrease in three years’ time—from 27 to 19 percent — while, spending on strategic IT like analytics and innovation will increase . It seems the future for CIOs lies being a strategist and innovation enabler rather than mere IT orchestrator.

For many years, a lot of CIOs focused on building and maintaining the backbone IT systems that business rely on; meanwhile, business evolved. Forrester noted that with continued business gains, they are now seeing CIO spending decline as business leaders and workforces take over more IT strategy and spending decisions. They also expect to see this shift in spending power continue out to 2016 at a minimum.

The cloud is a key way to shift IT’s focus away from backbone IT to becoming a business-wide innovation engine.

Key ways clouds support strategic IT thinking

Clouds were initially deployed to enjoy operational efficiency and cost reduction. However, today’s clouds can unshackle the CIO to think more strategic by offering these benefits:

  • Deployment automated
  • Improved security and access management
  • Streamlined capacity and performance management
  • Intelligent tiering in the cloud
  • Foundation for a comprehensive outsourcing strategy
  • Take advantage of new services fast

Going strategic offers the right direction. After all, CIOs are well placed to offer IT advice as businesses increasingly rely on IT innovation to leapfrog their rivals. But first they need to find a way to rid their thankless tasks of deploying, maintaining and streamlining the business architecture so that they can transform their IT teams into engines of innovation. The answer can be found in clouds.