Cloud adoption enabling business process innovation

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Over half of UK businesses are seeing the adoption of Cloud based services as being more about business process innovation as opposed to just technical efficiency, according to the findings of survey undertaken by the Cloud Industry Forum in conjunction with The Guardian.

However, the survey of 5,800 primarily UK based individuals, which was conducted in October 2011, identified that the vocabulary of cloud computing still led to confusion. Over a third – 36 per cent of the sample – stated that they were still unclear about the differences between public, private and hybrid cloud delivery models. Further, 56% of the participants also choose not to differentiate between cloud services and other forms of hosted IT services.

The survey also confirmed that material concerns still persist over where data is physically stored with just under two thirds (67 per cent) of those questioned stating that data sovereignty was a major issue with only 17 per cent stating that it was not. A clear majority of participants preferred data to be retained in their own country (i.e. the UK) over the EEA or other jurisdictions.

Key findings:

22 per cent of the sample stated that their primary interest in the cloud is its ability to deliver agility and flexibility in IT deployment; 16 per cent claimed the cloud would enable them to assess IT solutions they currently did not have in-house; 14 per cent stated that the cloud model would help in improving customer service and

13 per cent stated that it would assist in containing costs
Over a third of the sample stated that they remained unclear about the differences between private, public and hybrid cloud delivery models; 23 per cent felt that the private deployment model offers their business the best opportunity in the near term; only 10 per cent felt the public cloud offered the best route while 12 per cent opted for a hybrid model

Concerns over the location of data are being driven by a number of issues not least industry regulation (16 per cent), the impact of international law (15 per cent), ability to control the management of data (10 per cent) and ensuring only those trusted by the organisation have access to that data (10 per cent)

59 per cent of the sample want their data stored within the UK and a further 24% required the data to stay in the European Economic Area when selecting a cloud service provider

Security of data (38 per cent) remains the number one concern for many businesses
The majority of respondents felt that the cloud would be a more affordable solution than running existing IT systems (89 per cent); that the Cloud would be more reliable (89 per cent)

Andy Burton, Chair of the Cloud Industry Forum and CEO of Fasthosts, stated: “The opportunity that cloud services represent is clearly winning over hearts and minds in the wider market and it is encouraging to see that they are now more often considered part of the wider IT strategy. However, the hype of the early days has left a level of confusion and disconnect, with one third of the participants still unclear about the various different cloud deployment models, evidence if evidence was needed that the industry as a whole needs to continue to educate the market. And yet many of the fundamental benefits the cloud can bring to a business – flexibility, scalability, affordability and reliability appear to be resonating and are thoroughly understood.”

Over recent years the public face of cloud service marketing has been primarily focused on the cost savings afforded by cloud migration and yet, as the research yet again proves, whilst financial benefits are achieved and do drive further investment from companies already using the cloud, it is the flexibility and agility given to businesses to deliver new services, access technology quickly and to offer solutions that they did not already have that so often drives initial adoption.

Piers Linney Co-CEO for Outsourcery, a founder member of CIF, said: “The research clearly indicates that cloud-based services are being rapidly adopted by businesses with 63 per cent of the sample looking at researching, running pilots and implementing at least one cloud service. It would appear therefore that the hype over the cloud is now beginning to turn into reality for many end user organisations. For vendors and channel alike, it would appear that the cloud is very much here to stay.”

“This research reiterates the widely held belief that cloud services are more about delivering innovation and advantage to the business community through improved agility and flexibility, as opposed to being just a technical innovation. This means both cloud service providers and their customers need to understand the impact that cloud is having in terms of enabling faster and more efficient change of IT capability and build that into their solution design and message to end users,” concluded Burton.