In the next three years, according to a recent IBM report, the number of companies leveraging the cloud to innovate their business models is poised to double. Businesses are benefiting from the “rapid availability of data,” and the study contends that those who fully adapt to cloud computing in the near future will have a competitive edge in launching new products and services and in gaining new markets.

To compile the report, entitled “The Power of Cloud: Driving Business Model Innovation,” IBM partnered with the Economist Intelligence Unit and interviewed more than 500 business and IT executives around the world.

“Companies are starting to understand—cloud isn’t just about gaining efficiencies and cost savings; it’s about driving the kind of fundamental innovation that provides lasting marketplace advantage,” said study co-author Saul Berman, an IBM global strategy consulting leader, in a prepared statement.

He added that “Cloud has the power to open doors to more… innovative ways of doing business,” underlining that “companies that will come out on top will be the ones that find ways to leverage (cloud) as a key point of differentiation in driving business value.”

Ever heard the old adage, timing is everything? For Berman, it’s a cliché you ignore at your own risk. He is emphatic on the current need to move to the cloud: “Whether (companies) choose to tap cloud to optimize, innovate or even disrupt their business models, they need to start working on it now.”

Highlights from the “Power of Cloud” report:

  • The authors determined that companies want to leverage cloud for future growth and competitive advantages, and that both business goals and IT needs are driving cloud adoption

  • 16% of the executives said they currently using cloud for full-scale innovation; by 2015 35% plan to use it to change their business models

  • Around half of the respondents listed “organizational efficiency” as a current challenge; however only 31% expect it to be a major challenge over the next three years

  • 62% said “increased collaboration with external partners” is a factor in moving to the cloud

  • 57% said “competitive cost advantages through vertical integration” is a motivator

  • 56% said “opening new delivery channels and markets” by leveraging cloud is an objective

  • Other key reasons for cloud adoption are it’s capacity to “mask complexity” and enable user interaction, scalability using cloud, and cost savings and flexibility


The joint IBM/EIU study can be accessed at: http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/ibv-power-of-cloud.html