By Jason Bramwell
What are organizations looking for in a Cloud solution? What concerns do they have about using a Cloud-based service? How do they view the obstacles associated with this technology trend? These were among the questions asked to more than 500 organizations for the 2013 Outlook on Technology: Cloud Computing Survey from PC Connection.
While 31 percent of the businesses surveyed reported having no plans for moving to the Cloud, 69 percent reported either already having applications in the Cloud (19 percent) or are somewhere in the process of implementing a Cloud-based service (50 percent).
Of those organizations in the Cloud, only 14 percent are using it for finance/accounting. E-mail/collaboration software (35 percent) was organizations' top functional area for Cloud usage, followed by the IT department (32 percent) and web/e-commerce (31 percent).
Fifty-five percent of organizations that have moved to the Cloud or are in the process of implementing a Cloud-based service are most likely using a private Cloud strategy. However, of the 39 percent of organizations likely to use a public Cloud strategy, software as a service (SaaS) is the most popular choice (75 percent).
There are twelve main factors driving businesses to using a Cloud solution:
- Improved data backup services/disaster recovery (42 percent)
- Always-available access to applications/data (40 percent)
- Cost savings (40 percent)
- Reduced on-site infrastructure needed (38 percent)
- Scalability/flexibility in the amount of capacity needed/paid for (35 percent)
- Long-term IT strategy (35 percent)
- Improved mobility for the workforce (33 percent)
- Improved productivity (32 percent)
- Reduced workload for internal IT department (29 percent)
- More storage capacity (25 percent)
- Moving capital expenses to operating expenses (21 percent)
- Control over the Cloud environment (19 percent)
Among organizations with Cloud-based services in place or working toward implementing one, cost savings (51 percent) was the top influencer.
There are also ten obstacles organizations cited in regards to moving to the Cloud:
- Security concerns (65 percent)
- Integration with current networks/applications/systems (34 percent)
- System performance/availability (33 percent)
- Legal and regulatory compliance (32 percent)
- Lack of standards among Cloud service providers (28 percent)
- Lack of visibility into future cost (27 percent)
- Managing a vendor/partner (20 percent)
- Deciding which applications to move to the Cloud (20 percent)
- Implementing policies around which applications can be moved to the Cloud (20 percent)
- Difficulty finding a vendor with the needed skill set/offerings (12 percent)
It comes as no surprise that security was the top obstacle to adopting a Cloud strategy; however, this was more of a concern for those with no plans to implement (71 percent) than organizations using the Cloud or implementing a solution (62 percent).
Thirty percent of organizations surveyed strongly agree that their IT staff has the skills to deploy or manage Cloud technologies. Organizations are less sure about Cloud technologies freeing up their IT staff to focus on other projects – especially organizations with no plans to implement Cloud. Only 2 percent of those respondents believe a Cloud solution will allow IT staff more free time.