There’s no denying that cloud services are going mainstream, providing scalable IT on demand for a variety of organizational needs. What isn’t entirely clear is how this self-service IT approach affects purchasing decisions, implementation practices, and other existing strategies within a company or enterprise. There are many players to consider buyers, decision makers, administrators and even end users. Each group sees advantages and faces obstacles in embracing cloud services.

IDC’s white paper evaluates cloud services in practice, looking at what has motivated companies to go cloud, and how they are using it. It also looks at the introduction of cloud services from different points of view with an organization.

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For IT decision makers, the appeal of cloud depends largely on the extent to which this group sees IT as more of a business enabler than a "necessary evil" cost center. Transformation-oriented IT leaders view themselves as "enterprise architects" who ensure that IT resources are tightly aligned with overall business objectives and promote increased leverage of IT-based applications and workflows for internal and external business functions. As business becomes ever more technology dependent, cloud computing infrastructure provides the flexibility, agility, and granularity needed to support new ways of performing familiar tasks such as disaster recovery, new application development, and high-performance computing.