The most obvious appeal of such cloud services, of course, is the potential to save money. Business buyers have gone through decades of technology transitions, tacking new hardware and software onto the old. The average corporate IT department has to deal with the dreaded 70/30 rule where they spend about 70 percent of their technology budgets just trying to keep this jumble of products running, leaving only 30 percent to chase new ideas.

Chief information officers have to buy equipment by the ton to meet spikes in computing demand or prepare for disasters, and then watch as that gear sits idle most of the time. While companies struggle to deal with this mess, they’ve become overwhelmed by the influx of data in the Internet Age. The promise of the cloud is shoving the costs of dealing with all that off the bottom line.

The cloudpeople suggest a daring complement to the cost-cutting: Adopt the rapid-prototyping, beta-testing lifestyle of the new era. Relinquish control of your technology infrastructure—you don’t need it anymore. Let employees toss out new services and see what sticks. Innovate with impunity. “In the cloud,” says Tony Scott, CIO of Microsoft, “there’s no penalty for guessing wrong.”

Read The Cloud : Battle of the Tech Titans