No real surprises in this Denver Post article about HR-cloud firm IGRS , but it’s interesting to see cloud coverage make its way into the routine business news of a mid-tier daily paper, and of course we’re always keeping an eye on the use of cloud platforms by and other business functions.

On that note: CMOs, HR directors, and others don’t want to make technology decisions,” says Verizon Terremark CTO John Considine in . This presents an opportunity for IT to champion the cloud and help develop a focused enterprise-wide cloud strategy, thus elevating its own role in the organization.

Our global survey of 200 business and IT execs shows that the cloud plays a prominent role in business strategy and objectives.

  • More than half of respondents use the cloud to innovate quickly and meet rapidly changing market needs in real time, while just under half use the cloud to better manage and analyze big data and for custom development of new applications.
  • Nearly as many (46%) have a “cloud first “or “cloud only” strategy with regard to new software, and 45% support developers with Platform as a Service resources.
  • A smaller but still significant number, 39%, use the cloud to collaborate with partners, suppliers, and/or customers, and 38% use it to develop and deploy new business models.
  • Better than one in five respondents subscribes to SaaS offerings.
  • Just 16% use cloud computing only for cost and efficiency purposes, while 10% say they are not using cloud computing for strategic ends and a scant 6% say cloud computing is not a part of their business strategy.

Wait, why would the CIO of a business software giant take the time to attend a consumer electronics show? SAP’s Oliver Bussmann explains that we’re all consumers now.

Cloud platforms are transforming IT, according to our global survey.

  • More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) say cloud platforms have turned IT into a more strategic partner for the business.
  • A sizable majority (63%) say cloud platforms have transformed IT into a profit center.

We’ll continue to publish data and analysis from the survey here as we work on a series of papers about cloud platforms. Another part of our research — covered here and also informing those papers — involves a series of interviews with executives about the meaning of this data in the real world. More on that in the days and weeks ahead.

What concerns executives about moving to the cloud? Our global survey shows that security is the number one worry, and integration is a challenge.

  • The list of challenges associated with the use of business networks in the cloud is topped by security, cited by nearly two-thirds of respondents.
  • Ensuring consistent security is the most problematic area for respondents, with 42% calling it their biggest challenge—far and away the highest response to this question.
  • Well over half (58%) of respondents have purchased integration tools. A like number (55%) have a dedicated team that is focused on cloud integration, while 52% use integration-service providers.

We’re interested in the way cloud platforms enable mobile strategies, and also in the transformation of the IT function. Survey results on those areas will be posted here soon.

In the meantime, this article at CIO Journal about the rise of BYOD culture touches on some of the themes we’ll be exploring over the course of the project.

These days, it’s all about meeting the needs of your customers, both internal and external, and everything from device management to application availability is part of the story.