New York -- A dramatic and fundamental change in attitude among large enterprise CIOs/CTOs has occurred over the past two years making cloud fundamental to IT planning and strategy, according to Bill McNee, founder and CEO of consulting and research firm Saugatuck Technology.

McNee highlighted research in the opening session of Saugatuck’s annual Cloud Business Summit in midtown Manhattan Wednesday, an executive event of CIO panels and presentations.

Through 2016, a hybrid model (cloud and captive systems) will become the platform of choice, a transitional platform en route to a future dominated by public and private clouds. By 2016, 75 percent or more of new enterprise spending will be cloud-based or hybrid according to Saugatuck’s research.

Likewise, "IT’s new role and mission will be focused on enabling business innovation and proactively managing solutions and providers," McNee said. Saugatuck finds most large enterprise IT leaders are “well beyond” the learning phase. Just 10 percent of large institutions studied by Saugatuck had no cloud plans; 25 percent were aggressively moving  toward the cloud; and the vast majority, two-thirds, are taking a pragmatic approach, leveraging the cloud for new business requirements as they arise but largely leaving their existing technology footprint in place.

“The old stuff isn’t going away, but all of this is happening,” said McNee, based on a strong value and flexibility proposition. Already, 56 percent agree that the risk of cloud provider lock-in is an important business and technology concern.

Sixty-five percent of Saugatuck’s research base agrees or strongly agrees that the most important benefits of cloud computing are greater business flexibility and agility (versus cost savings).

Cloud is also an element of Saugatuck’s notion of the boundary-free enterprise  enabled through the integration and connected processes of cloud, mobility, social and data analytic technologies and services. Sixty-one percent strongly agree that mobile devices significantly improve value and usefulness of social cloud solutions.

Though cloud is creating a fundamental shift, it still represents a work in progress, McNee says. The ability to prove SaaS ROI is improving, but still developing. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed by Saugatuck agree that cloud business solutions have met or exceeded expectations and 31 percent say they have increased sales revenue by using cloud CRM and marketing tools. 

“The Internet was about connecting computers, the Web was about connecting the world, the cloud is about connecting businesses, rethinking business processes and driving rapid innovation and new business opportunities,” McNee concluded. The biggest home run will come, he said, in places where social cloud is embedded into business processes.

Information-management.com is a media partner in Saugatuck's 2012 Cloud Business Summit. The event also marked Saugatuck's first Beacon Awards and winners.

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