Exploring the Future of Cloud Computing: Riding the Next Wave of Technology-Driven Transformation
Cloud computing is seen by many as the next wave of information technology for individuals, companies and governments. The abundant supply of information technology capabilities at a low cost offers many enticing opportunities. In addition to reducing operational costs, cloud technologies have become the basis for radical business innovation and new business models, and for significant improvements in the effectiveness of anyone using information technology – which, these days, increasingly means most of the world.
Like any new technology advancement, cloud computing also creates disruptive possibilities and potential risks. The fact that cloud computing involves the aggregation of computing power, and more importantly, information, has become a source of increasing concern. Users, providers and government policy-makers are asking many questions about the current use and future evolutionary path of cloud computing. These include:
- What are cloud computing’s most important current and potential future benefits for industry, governments, and society?
- What might derail cloud computing’s progress?
- And are the overall benefits worth the risks?
The World Economic Forum and Accenture recently completed the first part of a two-year research initiative through surveys, focus group discussions and global workshops to address these questions. The project was mandated in 2009 by the IT Governors at the World Economic Forum meeting. The objectives ofthe project were to develop a set of collaborative actions and identify policy and industry recommendations that could steer the healthy development of cloud computing.
The research findings provide some surprising and useful insights into what current and potential users see as the most important benefits of cloud technologies; which industries, societal, and other stakeholder groups might most benefit from cloud computing; why governments are adopting cloud services at a higher than expected rate; and what users, providers, and policy-makers fear may disrupt the adoption of cloud services and thus potentially diminish their value.