By Max Clarke

60 percent of organizations are ready to embrace cloud computing over the next five years as a means of growing their businesses and achieving competitive advantage, a study of 3,000 global CIOs carried out by IBM has revealed.

The figure nearly doubles the number of CIOs who said they would utilize cloud in IBM's 2009 CIO study, and is one of dozens of new insights and trends learned from CIOs worldwide in businesses of all sizes.

"As technology becomes both an enabler of competitive advantage and embedded in every facet of the enterprise, the role of the CIO has never been more essential," said Jeanette Horan, vice president and Chief Information Officer, IBM. "This study provides key evidence of how the capabilities of IT are aligning perfectly with the aspirations of business leaders. The winners will be those companies that understand the power of technologies like cloud, analytics and mobility, and can harness that power to transform their businesses."


As demand for ever-growing amounts of information continues to increase, companies are seeking simple and direct access to data and applications that cloud computing delivers in a cost-efficient, always-available manner. The use of cloud, which began in supporting deployments mainly inside companies, has now also grown common between organizations and their partners and customers. In IBM's 2009 CIO study, only a third of CIOs said they planned to pursue cloud to gain a competitive advantage. This year’s study shows a dramatic increase in the focus on cloud, particularly in media and entertainment, which rose to 73 percent, automotive (70 percent) and telecommunications (69 percent).

From a country standpoint, seven out of 10 CIOs in the US, Japan and South Korea, and 68 percent in China, now identify cloud as a top priority. This is dramatically up from 2009, when CIO interest in cloud hovered at about a third in each of these countries.

The IBM study also found that more than four out of five CIOs (83 percent) see business intelligence and analytics as top priorities for their businesses as they seek ways to act upon the growing amounts of data that are now at their disposal. CIOs are also increasingly turning their attention to mobile computing to keep pace with the fast-changing marketplace. As the proliferation of mobile devices with enhanced functionality and mobile applications that support business productivity and new market opportunities continues to grow, mobile computing and mobility solutions are now seen by nearly three-quarters of CIOs (74 percent) as a game-changer for their businesses -- up from 68 percent in 2009.