Survey: Cloud is the Future of IT, but Barriers Remain

Cloud computing: adoption may be low for now, but most regard it as the next-generation model for IT, according to a mid-market business survey conducted by Evolve IP. About 90 percent of respondents said that the cloud is the future.

But channel partners take note: The survey data also shows that while cloud services are a hot topic for mid-market companies, more education and proofs of concept will be required to settle internal battles between premise advocates and cloud believers.

While companies already doing business in the cloud are experiencing benefits like disaster avoidance, scalability and flexibility, IT managers are less enthusiastic about deploying than executives and IT directors. Executives and IT directors believe more deeply in the value of the cloud, feel more educated on cloud services and expect to spend more on them than IT managers.

According to the survey results, 70 percent of C-level, vice president and IT director-level respondents consider themselves “cloud believers,” while 53 percent of IT managers describe themselves that way.

“The survey data reflects what we see in our business every day,” said Guy Fardone, general manager and COO of Evolve IP, “Most businesses already have at least one hosted service running, but in some organizations not everyone is in complete alignment regarding putting multiple services in the cloud. Executives want the cost and disaster avoidance benefits while security, privacy, and compliance are typical initial concerns brought up by the managers responsible for implementation.”

Regardless of who is a cloud “believer,” mid-market businesses are already deploying cloud services, according to the survey results. However, they are less likely to plan cloud deployments of complex enterprise systems.

Mid-market companies report having on average 2.5 services in the cloud. Adoption, as expected, is higher among “believers” at 3.1 hosted services. The unconvinced still average 1.3 cloud services and the undecided have 1.1 services deployed in the cloud.

Among all respondents, 75 percent plan on adding new or additional cloud services in the next three years. Even among those unconvinced of cloud benefits or undecided about cloud value, more than half (52 percent) expect to migrate some cloud services by 2016.

Of those in the cloud, 70 percent have realized improved flexibility and scalability, while six in 10 have experienced disaster avoidance/ business continuity benefits.

The top services respondents expect to deploy in the next three years are servers/data centers (27.5 percent), Microsoft Exchange (22 percent), co-location/backup infrastructure (22 percent), phone systems (17 percent) and Microsoft Office (17 percent).

More complex enterprise systems such as financial applications / ERP systems have lower expected cloud deployment projections (12.5 percent).

When it comes to implementation, budgets for cloud services are increasing year-over-year, with 43 percent of respondents noting a budget increase in 2013 and 61.5 percent expecting an increase in 2014. Of those with an increase in 2013 over 80 percent expect to increase spending again in 2014.

69 percent of executives plan on spending more on cloud services while only 52 percent of IT managers expect to see a budget increase.

When evaluating planning strategies, 54 percent of respondents believe that their IT staff is able to implement a cloud strategy independently yet only 31 percent will choose to do so on their own.

And finally, barriers to adoption still exist with security topping the list as a concern among 55 percent of respondents. Related concerns, legal/compliance issues (38.5 percent) and privacy (37 percent), also rank as barriers. Concerns about the effectiveness of the cloud were relatively low with reliability/availability (33 percent) and performance (33 percent) rounding out the top 5 barriers.

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