The first step of the journey to the cloud for enterprises seems to be complete. The proof is that few enterprises today are running their infrastructure in an entirely cloud-free manner. Looking back over the past few years, the clear motivation for the first step to the cloud was usually cost-cutting and driving efficiency.
Today, the cloud has grownup. A recent survey from Oxford Economics and IBM asked 802 decision-makers outside of the IT organizations across 24 industries about their motivation for using the cloud. The results were surprising:
“One out of five organizations has discovered a secret source of competitive differentiation. It allows them to serve customers in new ways and reimagine their business models. It can help surface valuable insights from their data and transform how they make decisions… it helps… grow revenue and gross profit faster than other organizations.”
In other words, enterprises came to save money but figured out there was a bigger reason to be in the cloud. And other executives noticed.
Perhaps most impressive of all in this survey is that the cloud’s strategic importance to non-IT decision-makers like CEOs is about to more than double from 34% to 72%. In fact, if you’re like the average IT executive who ranks the strategic importance of the cloud at about 58%, your CEO may think the cloud is more strategic than you do.
This is not new. If you were in an IT organization in the late 1990s, you probably remember how annoying it was when your chief marketing officer signed an outsourced contract for web hosting and e-commerce without talking to you. Today, there is little risk of that happening again, but you may find it surprising this year if your senior executive team comes to you asking for more cloud, not less.
This is good news for your IT career. It seems like in some years, the IT function is a cost center, and in others it is a strategic advantage. If this survey is to be believed, the coming couple years will be great for IT staffers and executives who have their heads in the clouds.