I recently read the summary (courtesy of Joe McKendrick – author, independent researcher and speaker exploring innovation, information technology trends and markets) of an interesting report on research conducted in early 2014 on 802 Companies by IBM’s Center for Applied Insights.  They wanted to establish empirical data regarding the business advantages of cloud computing.

The benefits of cloud computing that have been generally acknowledged so far have been IT focused: reduced costs, excellent security, and ease of use and monitoring)  However, this appears to be a great study that takes the ‘IT benefits’ of the cloud and expands and (most importantly) measures its influence on an overall business.

Briefly, the study broke the companies into ‘Pacesetters’ (114 Companies taking the lead in cloud adaptation); ‘Challengers’ (409 Companies who are the next wave to embrace cloud technology); and ‘Chasers’ (279 Companies who have not begun to use the cloud).  I was intrigued to find that the Pacesetters achieved a 170% increase in terms of making better overall business decisions.  This was explained as their extensive use of cloud-based analytics to derive consumer and customer insights.  Also, Pacesetters improved their strategic reinvention by 136% by using cloud analytics to reinvent their customer relationships (which I interpret as bringing new, unique and relevant information to their Customers).  Finally, the Pacesetters had a 79% increase in internal collaboration, driven by using the cloud to locate and leverage expertise throughout their Organization.

I am not surprised but am encouraged by this study.  This research suggests to me that cloud technology isn’t just a smart ‘I.T. thing’; it is an area of competitive advantage that can be used to significantly enhance a business.  From a Cloud Provider perspective, we will be at the forefront of further cloud computing expansion. As the pacesetters and early adopters leverage SaaS providers and integrate those they will be quick to realize that it is often more efficient to rely on best of breed solutions rather than the expense of building in house solutions.

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