Institute for Business Value

C-suite executives are ready to double-down on cloud computing

At a time when the hype around emerging technologies such as autonomous cars and augmented reality seems to be sky-high, C-suite executives are keeping their feet firmly on the ground when it comes to investing in a core area: cloud computing. While it might not seem surprising that a majority of CxOs would prioritize such an essential technology, early data from IBM’s upcoming Global C-suite Study shows that executives’ interests are evolving beyond basic cloud solutions to more flexible and versatile ones, such as hybrid cloud.

Executives say cloud computing will continue to be their top technology investment.

The IBM Institute for Business Value is in the process of interviewing several thousand executives for the 20th edition of its Global C-suite Study. About a third of the interviews have been completed. We will release some of the highlights from early data over the next few months, with the full study to be published toward the end of the year.

We asked CxOs to identify the level of investment they have made in the past across a range of technologies – from relatively mainstream ones to those that might be viewed as more futuristic. The data we are getting is consistent with the results from our previous C-suite Studies. The surveyed executives report that cloud computing, mobile apps and devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies were their top three areas of investment over the past two to three years. But as shown in the chart above, roughly twice as many CxOs say they plan to invest significantly in exactly those same tried-and-trusted areas in the next two to three years as well.

Cloud computing, in particular, remains a top priority for C-suite executives – irrespective of their roles. We are seeing organizations accelerate their shift away from a traditional data center model to embrace a cloud-based environment.

Nearly half of executives say their IT now resides in the cloud, and more than half say their IT will reside in the cloud in the next two to three years.


Since nearly half of IT now resides in the cloud, cloud adoption has become mainstream, but it still shows tremendous growth potential. That growth will likely occur in the realm of hybrid cloud. IBM Asia-Pacific head Harriet Green talked about the “next chapter of cloud adoption” in a recent interview with During this next chapter, enterprises will need to manage multiple cloud environments — private (operated solely for a single organization), community (shared between several organizations with common goals), and/or public (rendered over a network for open public use) — and an amalgam of those environments, known as hybrid cloud, which is generating the most interest and excitement today.

We asked the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) participating in the C-suite Study to break down their level of investment in hybrid cloud over the past two to three years, and to then estimate how their investment mix might change going forward.

Forty-eight percent of surveyed CIOs say they plan to invest significantly in hybrid cloud computing solutions during the next two to three years.


The shift is dramatic: More than twice as many CIOs expect to invest “significantly” in hybrid cloud in the next two to three years as the number who said they’ve made that decision to date. Interest in cloud – and hybrid cloud in particular – is clearly not waning; its role as a source of strategic competitiveness is instead accelerating. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from hybrid cloud, read our latest cloud research.

This blog is part of a monthly series that highlights preliminary findings and emerging trends from the 20th edition of the IBM Global C-suite Study. The study features interviews with several thousand CxOs during 2019.


C-suite Study Program Manager (Asia-Pacific), IBM Institute for Business Value

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