Cloud computing's true value can't be measured in dollars

Companies are moving to the cloud to save money, but in doing so, they're missing out on greater benefits

Cloud computing's true value can't be measured in dollars

The new Trends in Cloud Computing report from CompTIA states that “many large IT departments see the cloud primarily as a great way to cut expenses. And that’s a major reason why the cloud -- public, private or hybrid -- is an increasingly relevant factor in IT growth.”

What company doesn't want to save money? Still, these kinds of reports drive me crazy for two reasons.

First, these reports make almost the same statements. How many of them can you read in a week?

Second, though savings are important, the cloud offers far greater benefits in agility and time to market. But nobody yet understands that fact, and cost-savings reports do little to illustrate these advantages.

The problem is companies consider IT an overhead expense with little to no strategic importance. Thus, success is measured in terms of how much money the company can save in IT operations, not how much money IT can make for the company. That's a huge mistake.

I can list hundreds of companies that work with IT to their strategic advantage, including Uber, Airbnb, and nearly all travel aggregators such as Kayak.com. Note: These are not Global 2000 companies that have their heads back in the 1980s. Instead, they're new names willing to take a fresh view of business IT to reap new benefits.

According to the report, “Gartner estimates, as cited by CompTIA, indicate that the public cloud services market will grow to $204 billion in global revenue this year -- a 16.5 percent increase over $175 billion in 2015.” Though that seems like a positive development, it shows that growth is driven by the desire for cost efficiency, not the need to get a handle on system build backlogs or the ability to quickly change systems around the shifting demands of the business.

This kind of cost-driven thinking won’t get us closer to the true value of the cloud. However, it will drive growth. As I’ve been saying for years, companies move to the cloud for cost savings and stay for the agility, but we still need to get much smarter about the reasons for migration.

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