Understanding the Business Impacts of Cloud Computing

By Leslie Willcocks, Will Venters, Edgar Whitley and John Hindle

Cloud computing is already changing the way IT and business services are delivered and managed. But without understanding the longer wave of IT developments of which cloud is just a part, companies may invest in capabilities that do not pay off for them in the long run.

New research from the London School of Economics and Accenture has found that, although near-term investments in cloud computing will be dominated by a cost perspective, developers as well as users will be inexorably moving toward benefits that are not only about costs, but also about innovation.

Our research points to three primary impacts of cloud computing over the longer term: a radical shift towards service performance; a move from products to business services; and a transformative reconfiguration of the supply industry.


Impact 1: The importance of the customer experience

Cloud will escalate the importance of delivering a satisfactory customer experience as a differentiator of suppliers in the external IT and business services industry. That, in turn, will change the character of the technology supply industry. Customers’ expectations are rising as they become more savvy, meaning that vendors must raise their level of service competency, adopting a 24/7 focus on availability, security and quality.

The risk here is that few current cloud companies are focused on the metrics that would enable them to assess their service capabilities and improve them. A CEO we interviewed put the matter succinctly: “I am moving to only two sets of metrics: customer satisfaction and key business performance indicators.”

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