What Every CEO Needs to Know About The Cloud

By Andrew McAfee Harvard Business Review,
In 2010 an IBM survey of more than 1,500 CEOs worldwide revealed a troubling gap: Close to 80% of them believed their environment would grow much more complex in the coming years, but fewer than half thought their companies were well equipped to deal with this shift. The survey team called it “the largest leadership challenge identified in eight years of research.”
Unfortunately, the information technology infrastructure at many large companies only makes this challenge more difficult. Their technology environments actually impede their ability to sense change and respond quickly. While there is no simple fix for this problem, help is at hand in the form of cloud computing, a new suite of digital tools and approaches.

Cloud computing is a sharp departure from the status quo. Today most companies own their software and hardware and keep them “on premise” in data centers and other specialized facilities. With cloud computing, in contrast, companies lease their digital assets, and their employees don’t know the location of the computers, data centers, applications, and databases that they’re using. These resources are just “in the cloud” somewhere.

To advocates of cloud computing, that’s the whole point. Customers don’t have to concern themselves with details; they just rent what they need from the cloud. (For a more detailed explanation, see the sidebar “What Is the Cloud?”) Read more >

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