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DMW 2013 Cloud Survey of 100 UK IT leaders

99% of respondents to DMW’s 2013 Cloud Survey said they were currently trialling or planning to start using Cloud services by the end of 2013. 65% of all organisations surveyed said they are already using some form of cloud services. It’s encouraging to see also that a solid 70% of this uptake revealed a real belief in the benefit – the biggest of which are the cost savings and operational efficiencies relative to the self-hosted equivalents (Infrastructure as a Service, storage, email services & backup).

After years of marketing hype from cloud vendors, our 2013 cloud survey revealed a significant uptake of cloud services from organisations of all sizes. However, it is also clear from our survey that cloud adoption in organisations varies significantly – and, as IT service contracts approach renewal, more and more organisations will be asking themselves ‘Is now the right time for cloud?’

So, why all the enthusiasm?

Many respondents said they are considering cloud for the next evolution of one or more of their IT services and are bullish about generating business value from cloud solutions. The marketplace for adopters and providers is both maturing and expanding rapidly – enterprise-level adoption being driven by better responsiveness and flexibility. For many, this is a key time to look at the new opportunities while reflecting on lessons from their first cloud implementations and ensuring alignment to the wider business objectives.

This enthusiasm was tempered in some organisations – much existing and and company-owned infrastructure was there to stay (at least for now) and 1/3 would not consider a replacement due to committed long-term capital investment and tax implications. The survey findings also show that organisations are recognising that cloud services offer much more than just another straight IT cost reduction lever. For example, in the feedback we received on SaaS uptake, 35% were already using Cloud services to run their key services such as ERP, HR or database platforms and in combination with new ways of meeting their processing requirements and reducing the time-to-market for their products. 90% had already deployed or were considering services such as web hosting or non-critical services such as internal collaboration tools, social networking and support operations. Our respondents are clearly thinking beyond simply moving from fixed to operating costs – improved ways of working, more flexible deployment of resources and quicker response to their business demands are front-of-mind. The largest benefit was from improved elasticity and scalability to meet changing demand (71%) – the ability to create and provision flexible infrastructure in line with demand patterns without dramatic increases in IT spend. Growth will also come from adoption of cloud infrastructure implementation and extension to disaster recovery and the ability to get security advantages from cloud services – more integrated security controls and ability to leverage the provider investment in security infrastructure. Amazon Web Services (AWS) (41%) and Microsoft Azure (37%) were voted the leading public cloud service providers that IT leaders would consider utilising. Their reputations and tenure ranked very highly in the vendor selection criteria for organisations. Well-respected virtualisation vendors such as VMWare rated strongly for private cloud infrastructures but open source providers such as Eucalyptus were also in the running.

Proceeding with caution…

IT leaders stressed the importance of getting support for a transition from vendors and wanted to ensure that cloud services could integrate with existing infrastructure. They also wanted an in-depth business benefit analysis of in-house vs. outsourced cloud providers and focused pilots of specific services. Organisations are looking for cloud services provided by the established integrators and choosing to trust the big brands. The responses to our survey suggest that organisations pay more attention to the cloud services delivered, rather than the sector in which they operate. In particular, buyers’ value cloud service providers who are able to demonstrate a track record of integrating cloud services with existing IT estates. It’s clear to us that after years of marketing hype, cloud services are starting to come of age, but if the business case is so strong, why isn’t everyone doing it? All respondentsunanimously agree on security issues being the biggest barrier to cloud adoption – data loss and privacy risks were rated the biggest concerns, with further concerns voiced on the cost of transitioning to cloud services, multi-tenancy isolation and real-world achievability of published service levels.

Our final thought…

If you are asking yourself “Is now the right time for cloud?”, temper your enthusiasm slightly and ask yourself instead– “What else must I demand from a cloud service before it’s right for me?” The answer will help you assess your organisational readiness and the maturity of the cloud service…