Topics included, the cloud computing services used, main benefits attained, primary tasks performed, implementation processes practiced, and budget allotted.
- 83% of respondents use one of the big four cloud service providers the most: Microsoft Azure (23%), Amazon Web Services (AWS) (22%), Google Cloud (21%), and IBM Cloud (17%).
- Nearly half of enterprises, 47%, identify increased efficiency as the main benefit of cloud computing.
- 70% of enterprises use cloud infrastructure primarily for file storage.
- More than half of enterprises, 53%, hire an external, professional consulting firm to implement cloud infrastructure.
- 90% of enterprises plan to increase or maintain annual spending on cloud computing in 2016.
The study consisted of 300 respondents with decision-making authority or influence in the IT department, in companies with more than 100 employees. All respondents use a full-service cloud computing platform. The survey was conducted throughout December 2015.
1. Most Used Cloud Computing Services in the Enterprise Market
The big four cloud providers’ combined market share by revenue was 54 percent at the end of July 2015, with AWS in the lead, with 30 percent of the market share, followed by Microsoft (10%), IBM (7%), and Google (5%), according Synergy Research Group.
However, our respondents indicated a more even distribution of cloud service usage, with Microsoft proving the most popular choice (23%), followed by AWS (22%), Google (21%), and IBM (17%).
The more even distribution highlights the intricacy of the cloud service provider selection process for enterprises. For example, a firm that uses Microsoft applications may be more inclined to adopt Microsoft Azure, despite Amazon’s seeming popularity.
“The most popular cloud vendor is Amazon. They are ahead of the game because they offer services that are easy to implement and use. Then, Microsoft Azure and Google follow Amazon. … But, if a company or enterprise is attached to Microsoft products, then Microsoft Azure may be a better fit for them. It depends on the company’s requirements.”
— Jose Alvarez, Director of IT Infrastructure, Auxis
Duane Tharp, vice president of technical sales and services at Cloud-Elements, also emphasized the importance of choosing a cloud service provider that fits the company’s needs.
“All companies need different things. … If you look at different cloud entry points, it makes sense for a broad range of cloud vendors to dominate the market because each business has different needs.”
— Duane Tharp
2. Increased Efficiency is Main Benefit of Cloud Computing
Nearly half of enterprises, 47 percent, ranked increased efficiency as a leading benefit of cloud computing. Security (45%) and data storage (41%) followed to fill out the overall top three cloud computing benefits.
Improved business efficiency derives from features that are unique to cloud infrastructure.
- Cloud infrastructure's scalability makes it a more cost effective way to store, backup, and recover data, as well as develop, deploy, and test applications.
“The Cloud allows businesses to pay for the resources they use only, which is especially helpful for businesses with elastic workloads. This means they deploy them for a specified period of time and then shut them down or expand them up and down throughout the day. This ‘pay-by-the-drink methodology’ allows you to drive down costs.”
— Randy Bias, Vice President of Technology, EMC
- Cloud infrastructure centralizes operations, applications, and data management, enabling more agile service delivery.
“Centralization provides agility and ultimately reduces costs. With the Cloud a company can add and delete workloads from as needed and allocate resources nearly instantaneously. The Cloud removes the latency inherent in many business processes.”
— David Linthicum, Senior Vice President, Cloud Technology Partners
Another way of thinking about how cloud infrastructure increases business efficiency is the DevOps movement, or the process of improving collaboration and communication between IT and software development operations.
“With the Cloud, the IT department supports the developers by providing the environments they need quickly. Instead of focusing on building a server from scratch, the IT department uses the Cloud’s automation to build the environment.”
— Jose Alvarez
Cloud infrastructure's ability to facilitate a DevOps culture makes business processes more flexible and automated.
“People can adopt and consume the services offered by the Cloud quickly, as opposed to submitting a formal request to the company’s internal IT department. The time-to-value and time-to-achieve is reduced significantly, if you can consume cloud services on an on-demand basis.”
— Duane Tharp
3. Enterprises Use the Cloud for File Storage
Enterprises identified file storage as the first priority task for which they use cloud computing, followed by file backup and recovery (62%) and application deployment (51%).
Overall, 70 percent of enterprises use cloud infrastructure primarily for file storage, a broad category that includes not only the basic storage of documents and files but also applications and data.
File storage is the most basic need for most companies, and cloud infrastructure provides the easiest solution.
“The ROI of file storage on the Cloud is pretty straight-forward. Every company needs file storage. Also, the ease of adopting the Cloud for file storage needs enables rapid adoption in this space, as opposed to other use cases for the Cloud.”
— Duane Tharp
However, some analysts thought application deployment should be the first priority cloud computing task for the enterprise market.
“File storage is the factor that drives enterprises to the Cloud when they’re first starting, but file storage definitely is not the Cloud’s greatest value. I would lean more toward application deployment as a first priority for the Cloud.”
— Jason Reichl, CEO, Go Nimbly
“File storage is more of a byproduct of using the Cloud. It’s a function that businesses need but not the primary driver.”
— Randy Bias
4. Quantity of Enterprises Implementing Cloud In-house Versus Through External Firm
More than half of enterprises, 53 percent, hire an external, professional consulting firm to implement cloud infrastructure.
Working with a consulting firm to implement cloud infrastructure has both pros and cons.
The main advantage arises from the ability to access a consulting firm’s extensive knowledge base.
“The ability for a company to use a consulting firm’s experience and expertise with cloud implementation can benefit the company significantly in the long run. An in-house IT team may not have the same level of experience in cloud implementation. The company may become chained to the existing process instead of creating something new. Overall, hiring an outside consulting firm provides a fresh look, new ideas, opportunities for growth, knowledge, and expertise.”
— Duane Tharp
On the other hand, working with a consultant becomes disadvantageous if a transfer of knowledge does not occur from the experienced consulting firm to the internal staff of the enterprise company.
“For long-term project success it’s critical that the consulting firm you work with is dedicated to empowering and training your team. If you don’t invest in building an internal knowledge base, all the domain knowledge walks out the door when the engagement is complete.”
— David Linthicum
5. Enterprise Spending on Cloud Computing in 2016
90 percent of enterprises plan to increase or maintain annual spend on cloud computing in 2016.
This spending pattern indicates that enterprises are benefiting from cloud computing.
“Spending on the Cloud has increased because companies realize they are getting a lot of value. The Cloud is building ROI [return on investment] faster and with better business accuracy, so companies are willing to reinvest in it every year.”
— Jason Reichl
Cloud computing creates opportunities for enterprises to increase business efficiency and innovate in their industry to surpass competitors.
“You can’t transplant an existing business model in the Cloud. There’s no value in that. The Cloud forces companies to find new ways to do business. As you disrupt yourself, own markets, and move faster to surpass competition, you will invest in new revenue-generating opportunities. That’s why there is a continuous increase in spending on cloud computing, year-by-year.”
— Randy Bias