Re: Finally an article that realises the reality..
You're right, delivering the necessary service is a huge driving factor. That's where cloud can give major gains. For example, historically if I want to use new hardware for a new project, service, whatever then I had to get agreement for the capital costs; get the purchasing team to order the equipment;get the infrastructure team to configure and commission the kit, and as often as not I'd find that we were short of space in racks for the new hardware or our our SANs were hitting limits. Now on cloud, I just specify the kit I want and within minutes it's there for me. That is a major boost in productivity, over and above the cost advantages. And that's in a company of over 200 people with a sizable IT operation.
And as has been mentioned by others previously, the zero capital outlay, ability to scale up and down on demand and simplified DR experience - have a hot or cold standby in a different datacenter which exactly matches my live one - all add increasing value again.
Cloud isn't going away. People may fear it's going to put them out of a job - and for some it will. But for the good ones, there is still plenty of work to be done, it's just moving up the food chain. Relatively low-skilled (but historically fairly well paid) jobs are in jeopardy. Highly skilled jobs will be just as in demand as before - because on-premise isn't going away anytime soon and hybrid network and application architectures are complex but greatly needed.
By the way, one of the things you're forced to do in moving to cloud is just as beneficial in a non-cloud environment. Automation of EVERYTHING deployment and configuration related. That means source controlling your configuration scripts and settings, builds, setup and start-up tasks etc. There is no reason why you shouldn't do this for on-premise stuff now, but even with the best of intentions that work usually gets put on the back-burner in the face of having to fulfill day-to-day requirements. Being able to automatically, rapidly and repeatedly create and tear down servers makes your testing and deployments much more valid and thorough. There's nothing intrinsically cloud-y about it, but going to the cloud just forces you to do it.