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Study: Finance executives believe cloud benefits reach beyond cost savings

As the cloud matures, decision-makers from a wide variety of departments inside the enterprise are beginning to recognize the technology for what it is: a game changer.

A new study by CFO Research confirmed this finding, revealing that approximately 76 percent of U.S. companies said cloud computing will be an essential part of their success within the next 18 months. Finance executives, in particular, are coming around to the cloud and appreciating the technology for its ability to enhance IT performance and cut costs.

Although not every business plans to adopt the cloud, the ones that have cited positive results. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents said the cloud helped them reduce IT expenses to values that aligned with their expectations for hardware costs, CFO Research said. Other organizations said the savings earned through the cloud met their software, IT labor and system backup costs.

How finance executives see the cloud

Roughly 67 percent of finance decision-makers said cloud services can help IT departments innovate, while 68 percent said the technology will help IT executives to focus more on initiatives that fuel the entire business.

"Finance executives see the cloud as [a] means of improving IT performance," CFO Research editor Matt Surka said. "The cloud certainly offers cost savings, but finance executives are most interested in using the cloud to redirect IT resources to high-value activities - not strip resources out of IT."

Furthermore, more than 80 percent of survey respondents said the cloud has the ability to enhance employee productivity, CFO Research reported. Approximately 30 percent said the cloud exceeded expectations for how well the technology would be able to help their company achieve greater levels of mobility, which is especially important during the consumerization of IT era. Another 47 percent said the cloud met these expectations.

These benefits, among others, have influenced financial decision-makers to see the cloud as a serious option, the study concluded. As a result, the market for cloud services and solutions is poised to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 26 percent through 2015, eventually generating more than $121 billion in revenue, according to a separate report by MarketsandMarkets.

As public and private cloud adoption slowly migrates toward mainstream, more decision-makers across industries will acknowledge the technology as a tool to enhance overall performance and efficiency.

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