Cloud Computing

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Will the cloud have as big an impact as many predict? A complex question. Cloud computing is available now; it’s already changing the manner in which IT and business services are delivered and managed. But as is often the case with new technologies, organizations may overestimate the short-term effects while simultaneously underestimating the long-term benefits. Without understanding the larger wave of IT developments of which the cloud is just a part, companies may invest in capabilities that will not pay off sufficiently—potentially compromising their competitiveness as time goes on. New research from the London School of Economics and Accenture—based on a survey of 1,035 business and IT executives, as well as in-depth interviews with more than 35 service providers and other stakeholders—finds that the cloud will have a strong near-term impact on the majority of organizations. Twenty percent of respondents are already using cloud capabilities for a variety of services, including corporate email, websites, storage and customer relationship management. Similar numbers plan to make the transition in the next 18 months—a doubling of cloud usage in a very short timeframe. From cost to innovation: Three major impacts

Near-term investments in cloud computing will be dominated by a cost perspective, using cloud-based services to drive efficiencies and cost reductions. As time goes on, however, developers as well as users will be inexorably moving toward benefits that are not only about costs but also about innovation. Two-thirds of business and IT executives participating in our survey see the cloud as a business service and an IT delivery model that drives innovation in organi¬zations. Half of the executives see it as a new technology platform that can transform organizational forms. The cost benefits are certainly a dominant part of the executive perspective. But about half of business executives also see the cloud as a way to gain access to innovative,...
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