Cloud computing is practically mainstream, according to the latest CIO Economic Impact survey of 291 IT leaders. In fact, nearly half (48 percent) of the CIOs surveyed said they have adopted the government\u2019s Cloud First policy, which requires agencies to evaluate cloud options first, over traditional IT approaches, before making any new IT investments.\n \n Cloud budgets reflect this shift, with 48 percent of IT leaders putting more money toward cloud, up from 44 percent in November 2010 and 38 percent in August 2010. More than half (53 percent) of CIOs said they expect to increase their IT budgets overall, up 5 percent from a year ago.\n \n Roberto Dolci, CIO of manufacturer System Logistics, moved his company\u2019s payroll system to the cloud, which he says has increased the business\u2019s agility and allowed him to \u201csqueeze more out of the same amount of money.\u201d \n \n However, while Dolci plans to evaluate other cloud options, he says he\u2019ll hold off on moving over more mission-critical applications. The public cloud is \u201cstill immature, and that\u2019s an understatement,\u201d he says.\n \n While 27 percent of survey respondents said shifting to cloud services could result in decreases in IT head counts in the next three years, 49 percent of CIOs expect their staffing numbers to remain the same.\n \n Scott Van Vliet, CTO at Mattel, says moving to the cloud won\u2019t affect his company\u2019s IT head count, but it will \u201cpresent an opportunity to reinvest in areas that are lacking focus. People will become more focused on creating value-added features for the business.\u201d\n \n Use of mobile applications is also growing, with 67 percent of respondents planning to increase their budgets in this area, up from 53 percent in November 2010. Some 79 percent of CIOs said increased employee productivity is driving the adoption of mobile devices in the enterprise.\n Follow Editorial Assistant Lauren Brousell on Twitter: @lbrousell.