Despite fits and starts, the story of IT’s embrace of cloud computing is writing itself.
The numbers tell the story. A recent IDG study found a majority of the 1,672 respondents – executives involved in at least one stage of the IT purchasing process – said the cloud has helped their company improve innovation and collaboration.
What's more, 52% of the managers surveyed in the study said they were ready to upgrade their existing cloud services despite lingering concerns related to security and questions about how to make sure that information will still be available to apps residing outside of the cloud. It was clear that they viewed cloud technology as becoming more of a business staple.
About 24 percent of total IT budgets are now earmarked for the cloud this year. Indeed, cloud spending is up 9 percent from 2013. But any bigger investments will require CIOs to offer evidence that convinces their often-skeptical C-suite colleagues -- including those charged with watching the corporate purse strings -- of a worthwhile return on their investment.
CIOs seem to be making progress on this front. Survey respondents reported that pushback about the value of cloud investments from all key leadership stakeholders – including the CEO, CFO, and the board – declined from 2013 to 2014.
Clearly, CIOs are making a stronger case about why additional cloud investments will make the business that much more productive and agile. It’s a winning argument similar to the ones used to take those first baby steps into the cloud: lower cost of ownership and better speed of deployment. But the bigger play is the cloud's role in fostering innovation and helping the enterprise gain competitive edge. And, of course, there’s always the clincher guaranteed to warm the cockles of any CFO’s heart: a faster return on investment. Cloud also holds forth the promise of empowering workers to be more productive where ever they are.
Another data point worth noting: Some 80 percent of enterprise organizations have already deployed or play to deploy big data projects. And that’s where the return on increased cloud investment is going to pay off in higher returns.
All these pieces are part of a larger theme that explains why corporate resistance to cloud is becoming futile: Cloud services are proving their worth in increasing IT flexibility, innovation and responsiveness. That’s a dollars-and-cents argument strong enough to trump just about every possible objection.