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Survey Finds Executives Embracing the Cloud

4598510415 2659a2dcb9 mA recent survey conducted by Jive Software found that executives may be embracing the cloud more than you think with an overwhelming majority reporting they had used cloud applications at work.

In fact, the numbers tell an interesting tale. When asked how many cloud apps they had downloaded for work use on on a mobile device or personal computer, overall 69 percent reported they had downloaded at least one and you would probably be surprised to learn that around 25 percent of those surveyed reported downloading 5 or more of these apps.

Another telling data point was the fact that almost 60 percent of those who reported using at least one cloud app didn't ask IT for permission. That was right up there with the millenials surveyed, and it's not too often in these types of surveys that you find the young users and the executives are behaving exactly the same.

Another telling response was the Jive found that 92 percent of those surveyed reported that at least to some extent, cloud apps were improving productivity in their organizations. This is an amazing turn-around if you believe these results because as recently as just two years ago when I attended the MIT CIO conference, the discussion was overwhelmingly about just building an understanding of and getting around a fear of cloud computing.

The survey was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland from May 11-21, 2011. It included 301 executives and the company reports a margin of error of +/- 5.65 percent.

While I tend to take vendor-sponsored surveys with a grain of salt -- after all they are paying to get the results -- whether you think these numbers are completely accurate or not, it definitely shows a dramatic shift in executive attitude in just a short time.

From an internal IT perspective, it shows you a couple of things. First of all, if you want to go to the cloud, chances are your executives sponsors will see the value of this approach and won't stand in your way. Further, your employees -- even your top executives -- continue to use applications outside of your control without your authorization.

As an IT pro, you need to be aware of these shifting attitudes inside your organization and you need to find ways to work with employees to provide a menu of authorized cloud applications. What this survey illustrates, if anything, is that you can't stop end users from using these apps, short of shutting down the Internet Egypt-style. You can only hope to work with them.

It might even behoove you to conduct an anonymous survey in-house to find out what apps people are using and to what extent your employees are using applications you don't know about.

And if the worlds moving a bit too fast for you, don't be afraid to look for help. As attitudes shift and change before our very eyes, it's next to impossible for an enterprise to keep up and these numbers from the Jive survey, show that things have moved very quickly indeed.

Photo by juliejordanscott on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.
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