Cloud hold-outs not worth the pain

(Image: Stockfresh)

3 March 2016

Billy MacInnesLast month the Cloud Industry Forum published useful a report entitled Cloud and the Digital Imperative. While it found the general UK cloud landscape is the same today as it was a year ago with 78% of organisations using cloud services, the report found that three-quarters of those using cloud expected to increase their usage in 2016. A similar number of organisations have deployed two or more services in the cloud (77%) and store almost a third (29%) of their data in the cloud.

Another interesting finding was that 63% of those surveyed believed they would move their entire estates to the cloud. While, predictably, Web hosting, e-mail, e-commerce and collaboration services are the most likely applications to be hosted in the cloud today, respondents expected unified communications to experience the biggest growth in the next few years.

The report also had some interesting findings in terms of the cloud adoption process. The majority of final decisions on moving to the cloud (around 60%) are taken by CIOs or heads of IT but by ‘a range of internal stakeholders are involved in the decision making process’.

Respondents revealed it took an average of 19 months to migrate applications to the cloud and, in a finding that seemed to belie the notion that cloud delivers hardware and software savings, 69% said they had to invest in additional hardware and software to migrate their applications. A whopping 93% felt their migration could have been improved in some way.

Flexibility of the delivery model was the most common reason given for initial cloud adoption (77%) but scalability (76%) and 24/7 service dependence (74%) also scored very highly. A very sizeable minority (45%) said that enabling innovation was driving their continued investment in cloud, along with enhancing business continuity (37%) and improving customer service (31%). A significant 64% reported that using the cloud had saved their organisation time.

Unsurprisingly, security was a major inhibitor for moving specific applications to the cloud and a significant issue during the cloud decision-making process. That said, a massive 98% had never experienced a security breach using a cloud service.

From a channel perspective, the findings are interesting because they show that however tardy and reluctant some channel partners may be to adapt, a large chunk of their customer base is already implementing cloud services and has every expectation of taking on even more. Refusing to get involved with cloud will leave partners frozen out of larger shares of their clients’ business over time as they adopt more and more cloud services.

There’s not much point in concentrating on the cloud hold-outs because only a minority (37%) don’t plan to move their entire IT estate to the cloud and even then they intend to keep just a limited number of applications in-house.

The report suggests unified communications is a good area for channel partners to add to their cloud services portfolio in the short term and that they should also be working hard to try and assuage customer concerns over the security of the cloud, especially as only a tiny number of clients have experienced any cloud security breaches.

There’s no doubt that the report provides some useful pointers for channel partners in terms of what their customers are looking for in the cloud – and how they can best position themselves to deliver it.

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