Earlier this year, analyst house Ovum produced a qualatative research white paper looking at the benefits of public cloud computing and the considerations enterprises should look at as they adopt it.  We are very pleased to announce that we can make this report available to download for readers of this blog - free of charge.  What follows is a guest post by the author - Dr Steve Hodgkinson - to introduce it:

"There is an intriguing paradox in the fact that the cloud is clearly embraced by some enterprises and is proven to be faster, better and cheaper … while others stay on the sidelines and tolerate in-house and outsourced IT arrangements that are slower, less effective and more expensive. Beauty and risk are in the eye of the beholder, but how is it that some enterprise executives see value in the cloud while other do not?

To get under the covers of how public cloud services really feel in practice I interviewed executives in ten government and private sector enterprises that were using the cloud. My discussions reveal that public cloud adopters take a practical view of benefit/risk trade-offs. They have learned that enterprise-grade public cloud services deliver compelling benefits – better and iteratively evolving functionality, faster deployment and lower costs.  While some new and unfamiliar risks are created by the radically “arms-length” nature of the public cloud other existing IT risks were reduced. Project implementation risks, for example, were reduced because the cloud services were  already in operation and able to be deployed very quickly (“cloudy is as cloudy does”). It is all about making pragmatic trade-offs.

Early adopters also tended to see the evolution of public cloud services as part of a big picture trend in the IT industry – away from customised software on dedicated infrastructure and towards configured services on global-scale shared platforms built for the age of the internet, mobile devices and social networking. A strategic perspective enabled executives to put the decision to move to the cloud in context – it is not just about meeting today’s needs it is about building the capabilities necessary for tomorrow’s innovation."