Cloud computing is no longer a decision made solely for tactical reasons like cost savings or ease of implementation. Key strategic business demands — the need for greater business agility, data capabilities, and better customer and user experiences — are compelling companies to embrace cloud systems, according to the Insight-sponsored report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

Respondents are nearly split when it comes to hybrid and private cloud adoption, while total public cloud usage captures only a fraction of the market:

  • Hybrid approach with systems hosted in both the public and private clouds (42%)
  • Host most of their systems in a private cloud (40%)
  • Host most in the public cloud (13%)
  • The types of systems most likely to reside in the cloud, include:
  • Email and communication tools (54%)
  • Billing and invoicing (29%)
  • Business intelligence (29%)
  • Payroll (26%)
  • Customer service (24%)
  • Project management (24%)
  • Cloud improves company performance

“A company’s IT environment should work for them by enabling them to both run and innovate. Large and small to mid-sized companies need to focus on managing and modernizing their IT infrastructure, so that it becomes a transformative part of their business that can directly improve results,” said David Lewerke, director, Hybrid Cloud Consulting Practice at Insight. “While we knew there were a number of benefits, we wanted to better understand from respondents exactly how cloud systems were impacting their business outcomes.”

The benefits of cloud adoption are even more pronounced among small to mid-sized companies:


Large companies

Small to mid-sized companies

Time to market



Business/revenue/profit growth



End customer experience



Ability to manage security



Ability to mitigate risk



For all respondents, nearly half (49%) say cloud or hybrid cloud systems have significantly improved collaboration, followed by business agility and flexibility (45%), their ability to manage, analyze, act on and share data (43%) and their ability to empower employees and create a better user experience (42%).


A total of 347 respondents were drawn from the Harvard Business Review audience of readers (magazine/ enewsletter readers, customers, users). Twenty-nine percent of respondents were executive management or board members, 28% were senior management; 31% were middle management; 12% came from other grades.