It should be obvious to readers of this publication that cloud represents a step-change in the development of new and existing business models for most organisations.

And there is every indication that the era of cloud is only just getting started, meaning there is much more change on the way.

One of the biggest changes will be in the way cloud creates value by offering greater interoperability within the enterprise.

To date, most cloud adoption has focussed on well-contained point solutions that are implemented to support individual business functions such as Sales and Marketing, HR or Finance.

But cloud also provides CIOs with an opportunity to integrate different business functions onto a common platform, reducing cost and complexity and providing an agile environment to meet emerging business opportunities and changing regulation.

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Getting there won't be easy and the CIO will need to make some significant changes in the way that IT engages with the business.

A business-led IT strategy
For one, CIOs will need to recognise that cloud is not purely an IT play. In fact, in a recent survey by KPMG and Forbes Insights of more than 800 executives (Clarity in the Cloud: A global study of the business adoption of Cloud), we found that business unit executives and CIOs tended to have rather different views on cloud leadership.

Not surprisingly, IT executives most often viewed the migration to Cloud as a technology initiative and therefore led by the CIO.

But in the minds of business executives, the natural leader of cloud-based initiatives should be the CEO or possibly COO, reflecting the broad impact that cloud has on the business model (consider, for example, how cloud might transform the way a company brings products to market, enters new geographies or harvests real-time business intelligence from the supply chain).