More than 120 Chicago-area IT executives and other industry experts recently gathered in the Windy City for the CIO Executive Leadership Roundtable. The group named cloud computing as one of the three trends in IT that is likely to change the way companies operate forever, and leave those unwilling to adopt behind.

The group also cited social media and mobile computing for providing companies with optimum value without substantial upfront investment.

Cloud computing's value to enterprises, according to the roundtable, can be found in its comparably low upfront costs in relation to on-premise services. When paired with the flexibility and agility it provides companies and their IT departments, it is expected to change IT departments.

"This roundtable was a clear call to action," Hunter Muller, president and CEO for HMG Strategy, said. "We're truly at the cusp of a new era in which the newest technology drives innovation and innovation drives business value. This is a game changer."

Gartner, who also attended the meeting, recently reported that 95 percent of companies that use SaaS applications will continue to do so in 2010, with a portion of those planning to expand their adoption of hosted software.ADNFCR-2553-ID-19807330-ADNFCR