Bill McCracken, chief executive at CA Technologies, has said cloud computing is the only realistic way in which IT departments can deliver system change at the speed their businesses demand.

Speaking at the CA World conference in Las Vegas this week, McCracken said economic pressures and heightened competition were driving business chiefs to insist on change at unprecedented speed.

“Chief executives have always felt they know what they want to do but that they just cannot make the change happen fast enough,” he said. “Often IT is holding them back, and you can see that with chief information officers spending much less time in the role than their C-level counterparts.”

“The cloud technology on offer, allowing systems to go live or be changed rapidly across businesses, is the way firms are able to tackle the challenges in a tough economic environment. Cloud is no longer a possibility, it’s being used everywhere.”

The businesses that were prepared to shift rapidly to changing conditions, and to take the technology steps necessary, were the ones succeeding, he said.

“Look at how quickly e-books played a part in taking Borders bookstores out of business. Look how quickly a company like Dell revolutionised the supply chain and sale of PCs, and claimed a big chunk of the market. These fast changes are what make or break the biggest firms.”

It was vital that businesses look to predict the effect of change through modelling, McCracken added, in order to forecast any problems “instead of just firefighting later”.

“Management software used to warn businesses of problems already happening. Now modeling tells you what is likely to go wrong, and how to prevent it. It’s essential.”