Cloud Adoption and Trends for 2012

Executive summary

The language of cloud computing may not be universally understood and applied, however, adoption of cloud services is becoming commonplace. During the nine months between this research and the prior UK market analysis carried out by the Cloud Industry Forum, adoption has increased by over 10 per cent measured in terms of the volume of new organisations using such services.

What is truly encouraging is that we have seen a levelling out of adoption regardless of the size of organisations proving that the universal principles of flexibility and scalability delivered on a pay-as-you-use commercial model has opened up the market and enables small companies to access and leverage new technology alongside enterprises, levelling the playing field and potentially changing the basis of competition in many markets going forward.

Equally important to take onboard is that almost all organisations that have taken on cloud services (96 per cent) have stated satisfaction with their experience and result. This is an astonishing position for any new market, and itself is an improvement on the 94 per cent satisfaction rating declared in the prior research.

So whilst we cannot ignore (and fully recognise) that the language of cloud computing can be confusing, that marketing hype by vendors can obscure the practical understanding among end users; and that there are (arguably as a result) real concerns to provide comfort, clarity and mitigation around… the simple truth is that cloud services are growing in adoption and delivering positive results by those who have used them.

In the first research, reported by White Paper one, we stated that cloud computing was a disruptive technology and would change the way that businesses use information technology. We stand by that but would argue it goes further. Cloud is an enabler of business process change; it enables organisations to achieve activities more quickly, more efficiently and more flexibly. The power of any IT solution has to be in the business benefits that it brings, be it in improving operational costs, improving time to market, enabling rapid change in focus or developing new IP and capability. The evidence we see in this research is that organisations do now largely understand the cloud opportunity and that IT strategy now embraces the consideration of cloud services in most organisations.

In assessing current adoption in cloud service we have built upon the understanding we gained at the beginning of the year and have explored broader related issues that impact upon cloud adoption by capturing existing capabilities organisations have when they consider expanding from on-premise to embrace the cloud services opportunity. We have better insight into whether they have existing server rooms or data centres, what level of connectivity they have and whether they operate in regulated industries or have tightly integrated application suites. This added colour helps to determine what are real barriers to cloud adoption and what considerations help shape the deployment model that best suits a given organisational opportunity.

This research further validates that cloud services are a reality today, that they are proving beneficial, and that they should continue to improve in both capability and adoption. As such, all organisations need to be aware of, and considering, how to best make use of this agile and efficient IT supply model. It is also clear that any organisation may over time utilise any or all cloud service and/or deployment models and it is imperative that vendors and resellers need to be educated and aware of how to assess and guide end users to deliver the solution that will meet their specific needs. What is right for one company with one specific application, may not be right for another. The suppliers that will succeed in the market over the long term are those that recognise and embrace this and provide confidence and clarity to their customers and prospects. 

This paper explores current adoption of practical cloud services across the UK and looks into the levels of adoption across different organisational types; the drivers for adoption; the services being accessed; satisfaction levels and the issues and concerns that impede adoption at times. From this paper the reader should be able to gauge current market readiness and satisfaction levels of cloud service users in the UK and be able to understand some of the key issues and considerations to take into account when contemplating or reviewing plans to adopt cloud services as part of a wider IT strategy. The next paper in the series will provide greater insight into the drivers of different Service and Deployment Models and matching these to customer scenarios to ensure that cloud services are delivered on their terms

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