Business managers are taking control of more decisions regarding the use of cloud computing in organizations, according to a new study from Capgemini. The consulting firm also finds businesses are taking an incremental rather than an all or nothing approach to adopting cloud services, starting with new applications. Legacy systems, the report says, are mostly being left where they are for the time being.

The study of 460 business and IT executives found about equal decision-making between IT (46 percent) and business (45 percent) leaders in adopting cloud technologies. IT and the business are in agreement on the importance of cloud computing as a cost reduction driver. Both groups ranked cost as their highest priority in business and IT (52 percent and 51 percent respectively).

After cost reduction, the most cited business drivers for cloud adoption are reduced time to market (41 percent) operational efficiencies (39 percent) free up data center space (35 percent) and preserve capital (34 percent). (Multiple responses were allowed.)

Cloud is being adopted in a broad range of areas and functions touching everything from the board to legal in addition to IT, the report found. More than three-quarters of businesses in the survey already have a cloud adoption strategy in place, a figure that rises to 93 percent among U.S. respondents. By contrast, just 35 percent of companies in the Asia/Pacific region have a focused cloud strategy in place.

Eighty-eight percent of executives surveyed said the economic climate is driving them to use the cloud, but they also indicated they are proceeding incrementally and with caution. Most are taking small steps and not looking for “big bang” adoption. Less than 20 percent considered themselves close to maturity. The bulk of respondents (64 percent) said their cloud efforts are “maturing,” and just 5 percent are still “embarking.”

In contrast to sunny adoption rates, just 56 percent overall answered “yes” to the question, “Do you trust the cloud with your data?” The figure rose to 62 percent among North American respondents where general IT adoption is most mature.

Seventy-two percent of businesses in the survey are working or planning to work with more than one vendor, which Capgemini attributes to the piecemeal approach to service adoption. Seventy-eight percent answered “yes” to the question, “Does your cloud adoption focus on new applications?”The response was highest among retailers (84 percent) followed by energy/utilities (80 percent and financial services (77 percent).

The survey findings from Capgemini can be downloaded at no cost.