The transition to cloud-based applications is in a similar vein to the move from steam power to electricity, according to Wilson HTM investment group chief information officer, Scott Stewart.

Stewart spoke to some 200 CIOs at the CIO Summit 2010 in Sydney this week about cloud storage, comparing the success of the enterprise as being just as revolutionary as the move from steam power to electricity.

"If you believe that history can teach us something, perhaps there are some lessons here for some of us. This is what can happen when technology develops to a point and becomes a commodity that can replace a capability," he said.

Stewart said all CIOs will be affected by the popularity of cloud computing and Wilson HTM made the move to cloud because of this.

"We have made this decision to move to a trusted cloud platform and disassemble our infrastructure. You will be affected by cloud in some way," he said. "20 per cent of infrastructure in organisations will be decommissioned by 2014."

He went on to say that CIOs will reach the cloud in one way or another. "Are you going to migrate or crash into the cloud? Do you have a plan in your head, or is your head in the sand? Is it possible that you're witnessing something that has more capability than e-commerce?"

Stewart warned CIOs to prepare for the move to cloud in order to avoid the tsunami of change that will take place. "You want to be a leader, step up and work out how to leverage the cloud environment. The tsunami is coming and you need to be prepared," he said.