February 14, 2012

Cloud computing is assumed to be an IT staff initiative at most businesses. But business strategists at IBM have concluded that it needs to be a top management priority.

Too many companies are experimenting lightly with cloud computing. They're using it to tweak existing operations, as opposed to thinking about how it could revise or re-invent the fundamental way they sell their goods and services, said Saul Berman, global strategy consulting leader in IBM's global technology services.

Berman based his remarks on a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence research unit of the Economist magazine in the fourth quarter of 2011, based on interviews with 572 business and IT managers. IBM sponsored the survey, which will be released later this week, titled The Power Of Cloud: Driving Business Model Innovation. InformationWeek was given an advance look at its contents.

IBM strategists conclude that the cloud is an enabler of new business models, and all parts of the business, from the boardroom and CEO's office, down to the loading dock, should be re-thinking what they do in light of the cloud's capabilities. Accenture applied that thinking last year to technology companies; it said cloud technologies allowed them to rethink their business models and adopt new ways to expand their business.

"Although cloud is widely recognized as a technology game changer, its potential for driving business innovation remains virtually untapped," concluded IBM's summary of the survey results.

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