Why do business leaders have their heads stuck in the clouds?

us__none__cai__cloud_cover__147x165A few months ago, the IBM Center for Applied Insights embarked on a research study to find out how and why business and IT decision-makers are using cloud.  At the start of that journey, I fully expected the survey data would lead us to a primarily IT story.  After all, IT departments have been turning to cloud for quite some time now to achieve scale, drive cost savings, and improve organizational efficiency.  And we’ve all read articles about the cloud stack wars.  So, cloud must be mainly an IT thing, neatly handled by the technology parts of the enterprise, right?

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Not quite. The true picture is surprising. One worldwide survey and over 800 IT and business decision-makers and users later, the data has revealed that cloud is no longer just an IT crush.  Though business is a later suitor, still lagging IT somewhat in terms of strategic interest in cloud, a change in affections is brewing: Over the next three years, cloud’s strategic importance to the business – across virtually every area, including finance, operations, sales and marketing, and product development — is poised to double from 34 percent to 72 percent – leaping over their IT counterparts at 58 percent.

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So, why is business starting to crush on cloud?

Our study has revealed that leading organizations – one of five — have discovered a secret source of competitive differentiation through cloud and are using it as an engine for growth.

These Pacesetter organizations are building competitive advantage using Cloud in three key ways – through strategic reinvention, better decisions and deeper collaboration.  In each of these areas, they’re reporting business results from their use of cloud. For  example, Pacesetters are:

  • 70% more likely to build new and improved business models through cloud
  • 117% more likely to use cloud to make data-driven, evidence-based decisions
  • 71% more likely to use cloud to collaborate across the organization and ecosystem

How are the Pacesetters getting so much out of their relationship with cloud?  The study reveals all, but I’ll give you a hint: Pacesetters are leading the charge toward more comprehensive cloud strategies – they’re 270% more likely than peers to have enterprise-wide cloud strategies.

This is one case where having your head stuck in the clouds just might turn your organization into a rainmaker!

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