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2013 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Reveals Business Driving Cloud Adoption in Everything as a Service Era

North Bridge Venture Partners, in conjunction with GigaOM Research and 57 collaborating organizations, today released the results of its third annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey. This year’s survey is the largest to date, examining viewpoints on drivers, inhibitors and opportunities in cloud computing across a sample of 855 respondents, including business users, IT decision makers and cloud vendors. More than a third of respondents were C-level executives within their organizations.

Cloud adoption continued to rise in 2013, with 75 percent of those surveyed reporting the use of some sort of cloud platform – up from 67 percent last year. That growth is consistent with forecasts from GigaOM Research, which expects the total worldwide addressable market for cloud computing to reach $158.8B by 2014, an increase of 126.5 percent from 2011.

This year’s survey finds several important shifts in why and how cloud computing is being used, obstacles to adoption, where cloud decision-making resides within organizations, and how the vendor landscape is changing. It also serves as a barometer for the industry’s progression. Feedback from across the different categories of respondents was consistent, signaling a convergence of vendor and user needs. Further, the survey reveals that business is driving the revolution deriving clear benefits from cloud adoption in the form of continuous innovation and business agility to yield competitive advantage.

Survey Highlights

  • Business is driving cloud adoption:
    • Organizations average 52% current use of applications that advance business priorities, compared with an average 36% that use applications that advance IT priorities – underscoring the increasing value placed by organizations on facilitating the delivery of services beyond IT via the cloud
    • Of the 16 cloud application areas tracked (8 business cloud applications and 8 IT cloud applications), 4 business cloud applications (file sharing, business productivity, CRM/marketing and social business/collaboration) are in use by more than half of all organizations, yet not a single IT cloud application is in use by more than half of all organizations
    • Still, going forward respondents stated that 6 out of the top 7 fastest areas of growth in cloud applications will be in IT areas: Big Data, mobile, systems management, backup/DR/BC, helpdesk and security
    • Both business and IT (68% of total respondents) see greater migration to the cloud as bringing equal or better total cost of ownership (TCO) to the organization
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) leads but fastest growth is in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which will give way to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in five years:
    • SaaS remains the most popular form of cloud service, used by 63% of organizations, up from 55% last year
    • However, the fastest growth today is in IaaS, with usage rising from 35% to 45%, a 29% increase over the prior year
    • Meanwhile, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is forecast to grow the fastest in the next five years, with 72% of respondents expecting to use PaaS in their organization within that time
    • The top cloud companies cited are brand name, infrastructure players, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Rackspace, but 300 companies had less than 2% of responses each, indicating that there are a large number of up and coming companies, and no single company has captured all of the momentum
  • Agility and scalability are the primary drivers for cloud adoption. However, the need for cloud services to support mobility and the ability for continuous innovation to drive competitive advantage through more integrated business processes are all key drivers for the future.
    • More than half of respondents cited business agility (54.5%) and scalability (54.3%) as the main drivers
    • Cost is close behind with 48% citing it as a driver
    • Mobility is the next major driver with a quarter of the respondents recognizing the that mobility is powered by cloud services
    • And innovation (22%) as delivered continuously from the cloud is ultimately leading to competitive advantage (14%)
    • Cloud APIs are also cited as important this year as users look to move beyond stove pipe applications to more integrated business services
  • Security is starting to lose its label as the primary inhibitor to cloud adoption as other significant adoption issues arise:
    • Though still the top inhibitor, security is declining year-over-year from 55% of respondents in 2012 to only 46% in 2013
    • At least as important to security, 46% described the management of IT as “more complex” with the growing use of cloud components, reflecting the immaturity of the cloud stack
    • Vendor lock-in (35%) and Interoperability (27%) continue to weigh on customer’s minds as they look for best of breed choices in the schism between a few large players and the long tail of alternative emerging vendors
    • Reliability (22.3%) and complexity (21%) were among the top inhibitors, reflecting real world obstacles to an “always-on” services infrastructure
    • Additional inhibitors include regulatory compliance (30%) and privacy (26%)
    • Cost is up sharply as a perceived barrier - almost 50% year-over-year – and is now cited by 28% of respondents as all of the above factors weigh in
  • Challenges to IT present opportunity:
    • In response to the inhibitors to cloud adoption, a majority of respondents (55%) expect hybrid or multi-cloud providers to emerge to challenge the current cloud ecosystem in the next 2-3 years
    • In five years, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents expect hybrid clouds to be the core of their cloud strategies overtaking public and private clouds
    • Nearly 40% of respondents expect to increase their training investment to support a cloud computing expansion in their organization
    • Despite the rise of cost as an inhibitor, surprisingly, more than half (53%) of respondents are neither tracking nor recording service costs 

See Survey Results

Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:25 PM by David Marshall
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