Wake up, IT: Even CFOs see value in the cloud

Finance execs see more than cost savings as benefits of the cloud; increased productivity and security are also expected

IT may still be wrestling with the notion of cloud computing, but chief financial officers already believe. According to a Google-sponsored study, 96 percent of CFOs believe that "cloud computing provides their business with quantifiable benefits." Almost as good, 94 percent said the cloud will be important to the success of their companies, and just over half of those agreed that cloud computing "offers better value" than traditional approaches to computing, including outsourcing.

Some of the benefits CFOs saw most include significant capital and operational savings, better security (you heard right), and productivity gains that come from the ability to work from any device.

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The study surveyed 800 CFOs and other top financial executives at companies with 500 or more employees in both the United States and Europe. Even with the obvious caveat that a cloud study sponsored and released by Google -- a top service provider -- could hardly come to an anticloud conclusion, the study still provides notable data points.

What's most interesting about the results is that the CFOs are convinced by the cloud's benefits -- and these are the people who typically push back on the move to any new technology until the business benefits are better understood. I suspect CFOs see an awful lot of money going out the door for endless hardware and software purchases and upgrades, so they're happy to welcome anything that will stop the bleeding.

What does this all mean to us, the implementers of the clouds? The reality is clear: Unlike other technology trends, which largely confused the leaders in the boardroom, cloud computing has enjoyed strong PR among those who manage the money. That's good news for IT organizations interested in trying to get the promised value from the cloud -- the people who hold the purse strings will likely support the creation of an initial cloud computing strategy and the first cloud computing projects.

Indeed, I find it's easier to plead my case for the cloud to CFOs and CEOs rather than IT leadership. CFOs and CEOs see the business benefits more prominently, as well as the larger values of using cloud computing. IT leadership just sees change.

This article, "Wake up, IT: Even CFOs see value in the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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