IBM Under Cloud Cover Study

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With so much of the cloud conversation revolving around technical topics, like “stack wars,” APIs and DevOps, some people might think cloud computing is just an IT obsession. But business leaders disagree.

According to our global study of more than 800 decision makers and users, business leaders of all stripes – Finance, Sales & Marketing, Product Development and more – are becoming increasingly focused on the business value cloud provides. Over the next three years, cloud’s strategic importance to business users is expected to double from 34 percent to 72 percent, even surpassing their IT counterparts at 58 percent.

They’re also backing up their words with action. The majority of our respondents said business leaders are actively involved in managing their organization’s cloud initiatives.

So what’s behind this growing strategic interest in cloud?

Simply put, it’s an evolution. Cloud computing is following the same pattern of other technologies that have shaped business and society. Take electricity, for example. Even after the first public power supply lit the streets, it took time for businesses to learn how to really capitalize on this new technology. In those early days, people were enthralled by artificial lighting – one of the earliest applications of electricity. Very few could fathom the innumerable product innovations, business models and industries that would ultimately be built upon this technology.

Business leaders are working through this transition with cloud right now. For some time, many have benefited from early applications of computing and the basic efficiency gained from IT delivered as a service. But now it is sparking imaginations. And more and more business leaders are recognizing its profound implications for how enterprises can make money, differentiate and compete.

What can we learn from those at the forefront of this movement – the organizations that told us they’re gaining competitive advantage?


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