Cloud ranks higher on agenda of business than IT

Organizations gaining competitive advantage through high cloud adoption are reporting almost double the revenue growth and nearly 2.5 times higher gross profit growth than peer companies that are more cautious about cloud computing, according to an IBM survey recent survey conducted with more than 800 business decision makers and users worldwide.

The survey also revealed that the cloud’s strategic importance to decision-makers, such as CEOs, CMOs, finance, HR and procurement executives, is poised to double from 34 percent to 72 percent – vaulting over their IT counterparts at 58 percent.

The survey found that one out of five organizations is ahead of the curve on cloud adoption and achieving competitive advantage – not just cutting costs and driving efficiency – through cloud computing.  

These leading organizations see the benefits of using the cloud — they are 170 percent more likely to use analytics extensively via cloud to derive insights for better business decisions.

In addition, IBM’s research found that leading organizations are looking to the cloud to differentiate them from their competitors.  In fact, they are 136 percent more likely to use cloud to reinvent customer relationships.

Compared to more cautious cloud adopters, leading organizations are:

· 117 percent more likely to use cloud to enable data-driven decisions

· 79 percent more likely to rely on cloud to locate and leverage expertise anywhere in the ecosystem for deeper collaboration.

· 66 percent are using cloud to strengthen the relationship between IT and lines of business and the majority are using cloud to integrate and apply mobile, social, analytics and big data technologies.

The study findings suggest that business and technology leaders should prioritize cloud investments in areas where they can differentiate from the competition.

Today’s Cloud Marketplace

With the overall cloud market reaching as much as $244 billion by 2017, companies are looking to capitalize on this fast growing opportunity around the cloud for business transformation. IBM has invested more than $6 billion in more than a dozen acquisitions since 2007 designed to accelerate its cloud initiatives, including 10 since 2010.

The cloud has transformed how different industries are solving their unique challenges. For example, the Waterfront Toronto revitalization project  gives local residents an interactive and open cloud-based portal to view city-wide data on mobile or desktop devices. The IBM cloud platform allows residents to keep a pulse of events, news and activity across the growing community because it can integrate multiple data sources and create real-time visualizations of information.

IBM Teams with 100 Universities Globally to Teach Cloud Skills

To help address the exponential growth of cloud computing, IBM has engaged more than 100 academic institutions from around the world to collaborate on technology curricula for students and mid-career professionals to gain the latest skills in cloud computing and prepare them for high value jobs in the future. In partnership with the IBM Academic Initiative, these institutions have created new courses of study at the undergraduate, graduate and executive education levels that will include no charge access to IBM assets and cloud thought leaders.

Sample higher education institutions from around the world include Gurukul Kangri University (India), Panjab University (India), Vardhaman College of Engineering (India), and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Singapore).

Venture Capital Investment Accelerating in Cloud to Drive Innovation

In addition to how schools are recognizing the market demand for cloud computing, the venture capital community is also keenly watching cloud technology startups.  

“We see cloud computing as the next frontier for major investments. Businesses that capitalize on cloud capabilities can go well beyond launching a product to actually expanding their business model and targeting new markets and new buyers,” said Mike Grandinetti, Managing Director at Southboro Capital. “The cloud is making the start-up business model more accessible to people with smaller budgets while transforming the level of productivity and accelerating innovation — keys for VCs working to decide where to place their next big bets.”