Recently released data shows the adoption of cloud computing breaking through the 50% barrier for the first time. The “Cloud Barometer Survey" research results were released last month and the study looked at how an organizations views its data and a general look at where cloud sits in terms of overall IT strategies – it had a broad definition of what constitutes cloud and as such some will argue with its findings but as an indication of general trends it is salient.

The most interesting figure of the survey is that 56% of respondents in the US admitted they use cloud compared to 36% in October last year. Given the propensity of IT staffers to be cautious about cloud adoption and, by extension, their tendency to avoid admitting cloud use, this is an interesting statistic. Cloud has now gone beyond 50% adoption which, while of little excitement to the early adopters amongst us, is telling when looked at with an awareness of just how reluctant enterprise IT departments are to have any of their data offsite.

Not surprisingly, the survey found Email (62%), security (52%) and/or storage (50%) the highest utilized cloud applications. Arguably these three classes of application are commodity ones and so it’s not surprising that these areas, traditional “vanilla” functions with little scope or competitive differentiation, are at the forefront of adoption.

Some interesting snippets from the survey which all increase the justifications of a move to the cloud include:

  • 58% of respondents indicated that replacing legacy solutions almost always costs more than the benefit brought from the new IT. Clearly a powerful reason why many organizations are slow to upgrade their software.
  • Quite surprisingly given the respondents, a full 62% of those surveyed said that there was no significant security risk through hosting data on external servers
  • 84% of respondents agreed that the risks inherent in managing email are increasing, the extension being that moving these risks to a best-of-breed third party is attractive

Finally respondents where asked which of a supplied list of benefits cloud computing had brought them. Somewhat predictably the alleviation of internal resource pressures and the reduction in overall cost both rated highly in the results.

Surveys like this are always a little fraught, we’ve all seen predictions of the size of the cloud market in years to come that analyst firms love to publicize. These estimates are, for all intents and purposes, little more than numbers plucked out of thin air. It is trends that are meaningful and while we can ignore absolute values from this research, it is worthwhile looking at relative values and trends over time which all point in the direction of the emergence of cloud software as an accepted and mainstream trend in the industry.

For years we’ve discussed Gartner hype cycles and adoption trends. While as a point-in-time measure this study adds little to the discussion, as a reflection on the speed fo the cloud adoption trend, it tells a tale.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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