Research: Cloud Models Maturing, Market Trends Emerging

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IDG Enterprise has released the results from its 2013 cloud computing research, highlighting how cloud is transforming IT, public vs. private cloud strategies, cloud ownership and opportunities for cloud solution providers.

Among the highlights of the research is the transformation of IT that has come via cloud computing. Cloud adoption is maturing and the majority of organizations (61 percent) have at least a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud. Additionally, nearly one-third (29 percent) anticipate that the majority of IT operations will be in the cloud in the next five years, with the exception of financial and compliance applications. Cloud computing capabilities that align with business strategy are driving investments, including enabling business continuity (43 percent), improving customer support and services (43 percent), increasing flexibility to react to changing market conditions (40 percent) and reducing resource waste (40 percent).

Among IDG's other findings:

Cost, speed and security are reoccurring themes throughout private vs. public cloud discussions. Currently, 69 percent of organizations have a portion of their IT environment in private cloud, compared to 59 percent in public cloud and 28 percent in community cloud. The most effective argument for implementing a private cloud model is the lower total cost of ownership (TCO) because organizations are optimizing existing infrastructure compared to purchasing new servers. In fact, 59 percent of organizations believe that private cloud will provide stronger cost savings. On the other hand, speed of deployment is the key driver for public cloud implementation because speed can be a business game-changer.

"Private cloud models continue to maintain the largest footprint," said Bob Melk, senior vice president, group publisher and CMO for IDG Enterprise. "However, the different factors that contribute to these decisions continue to evolve. The sensitivity of compliance, security management as well as cultural implications and total cost of ownership is driving each organization to evaluate their risk tolerance with unique business needs in order to execute their optimal cloud strategy."

Since 2012, investments in cloud computing have increased by 10 percent to an average of $1.5 million. IT plays a central role in driving organizational cloud purchases, implementations and maintenance. Eighty percent of cloud purchases are made within the IT department. Additionally, CIOs are the number one partner when selecting cloud solutions. While some purchases are made by non-IT groups, many of these cloud investments (42 percent ) transition to IT ownership because of security concerns (65 percent), technology problems (64 percent) and the need for standardization (48 percent).

The majority of organizations (59 percent) are still evaluating additional IT operations that can potentially migrate to the cloud, opening the door for new partnerships with solution providers. Two areas that solution providers need to address are security and organizational savings. Half of organizations believe that they and their cloud provider share the responsibility for securing the information assets stored in the cloud. Additionally, enterprises are looking for solution providers to put stronger controls in place to enforce their compliance policies. Solution providers that are able to help make the business case for reducing TCO have a step up on their competitors who do not.

"Cloud investment discussions need to go deeper than speed, agility and flexibility. Solution providers need to address business goals," said Melk. "The conversations should begin by highlighting how they can secure assets and reduce overall organizational costs to make a lasting impression."

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