One of the most common questions I’ve been asked in the past several months has been “How will the global recession impact the pace of adoption of Cloud Computing?”.
My gut reaction has been that the economic crunch would certainly amplify the economic benefits of the cloud services model, and therefore accelerate IT cloud services adoption. Some data from a user survey my colleague Stephen Minton published earlier this year substantiates that view.
The survey was of 332 IT and line-of-business executives, predominantly based in North America, and spread across large, medium and small enterprises. Stephen asked this group: “How will the economic situation affect your approach to cloud computing and SaaS?”. Here are the responses:
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Almost half of the respondents claimed there would be no impact – a real testament to the power of inertia in many businesses! But over half of the executives stated that they are, indeed, adjusting their approach to market conditions.
Intriguingly, twenty-four percent are reacting to the recession by moving more aggressively in the cloud/SaaS direction: either doing more evaluation, beginning to adopt, or increasing their adoption of IT cloud services. While fourteen percent are reducing their pace of cloud/SaaS adoption – my guess is, this is not because of anything specific about cloud computing, but because they are reducing most of their IT investments in the down economy.
In a down economy as severe as the one we’re experiencing, it’s remarkable that one in four executives are thinking more aggressively about adopting ANY kind of IT. But the cloud model’s economic benefits are compelling. To me, this survey strongly suggests that the cloud model – which we forecasted last October would account for about 9% of enterprise IT spending in 2012 – is on a pace to drive closer to 10-15%.
One other important takeaway: by far, the largest portion of customers leaning more aggressively toward the cloud model are in the “more evaluation” stage. This makes 2009 and 2010 a very important time for suppliers to be actively educating the marketplace about the cloud model and their cloud offerings – very appropriate, given our assessment that the cloud model is in the “crossing the chasm” stage of adoption.