In a recent post, I shared users’ perceptions of cloud benefits and challenges from our most recent IDC IT Cloud Services Survey. In this post, I’ll show what these same IT and line-of-business executives say about their likeliness to adopt the cloud services model for different IT applications, workloads and services.
Once again, the survey was fielded, from the IDC Enterprise Panel of IT executives and their line-of-business (LOB) colleagues.
Organizations Are Likely to Consider Cloud Delivery for Many IT Offerings
We asked the panel to rate their organizations’ likelihood – on a 1 (very unlikely) to 5 (very likely) scale – to pursue the cloud model for a variety of IT applications, workloads and services. The chart below shows the percentage of panelists responding 3, 4 or 5 – that is, neutral to very likely.
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The most obvious message in the data – with almost 50% or more respondents in the 3-5 range for all categories – is that there is a general willingness to consider the cloud model for all of these areas. Of course, there’s a big difference between users answering a survey question and actually making the move to the cloud. But these responses certainly suggest the door is open for cloud services providers to make the case for cloud versions of all of these IT offerings.
What’s Most Likely to Move to the Cloud?
Diving into the detail, there are six clear takeaways from the survey responses:
- Web Apps/Sites and Collaboration are already there. It’s no surprise that the most likely areas for cloud model adoption are where it’s already commonplace!
- Data/Content is the next big adoption driver. Three of the next five top cloud adoption areas have to do with data/content – its back-up (#3), distribution (#6) and storage (#7). The cloud model offers distinct advantages for these IT needs, being: off-site, distributed (close to users), able to scale as content volumes continue to explode, and scalable at affordable costs.
- Business Applications are expanding to the cloud… The fact that Business Applications is #4 isn’t a big surprise – CRM in the cloud has been a viable option for many organizations for several years. But this strong showing suggests that, in the next several years, we’ll see a steady expansion of business application categories in the cloud, and adoption by wider variety of organization profiles.
- …and so are Personal/Desktop Applications. More of an eyebrow-raiser is the strong showing for Personal Productivity Apps (#5) – this suggests that the low costs and simplicity/speed of deployment of the cloud model will continue to increase traction for cloud-based productivity apps/suites. The growing use of mobile devices – which typically use lightweight front-end apps that depend on cloud-based apps and services – will certainly drive more personal apps to the cloud. The leaders in PC-based productivity apps, Microsoft and IBM, have clearly noticed: in 2009, both stepped up their development of competitive cloud offerings in this space, and are already marketing these offerings aggressively, attempting to keep cloud-centric players like Google and Zoho out of key accounts.
- IT Infrastructure offering results reflect earlier stage of maturity. Aside from the data-oriented cloud offerings, infrastructure-related cloud offerings – IT Management (#8) and Server capacity (#9) – ranked low. In our view, this is not because users consider the cloud model inappropriate for these offerings. Rather, the responses reflect that these cloud offerings are generally less mature – and less well-understood by users – than, say, Collaboration, Web Hosting and Business Apps (e.g., CRM) in the cloud. We expect to see these offerings move up the “adoption likelihood” ranks as more cloud infrastructure offerings come to market, especially from long-established enterprise IT suppliers, like HP, IBM, EMC, Cisco, Dell, CSC, Accenture, AT&T and Verizon.
- Business Analytics, App Dev/Test and IT/Information Security – look for these to come up fast in 2010. Right at the bottom of the list are three IT areas – Business Analytics, App Dev/Test and Security – that I actually expect will be very hot areas for cloud services adoption over the next two years. In all three areas there are already some pretty compelling benefits to the cloud model. The relatively poor showing could reflect both the need for better market education about these offerings, and the need for customers to see more offerings from the “household brands” in enterprise IT. In any event, look for these three areas to steadily move up in our next several surveys. Demand for Business Analytics and Information Security in the cloud will also be boosted as more data/content migrates to the cloud.