2013 Future of Cloud Computing 3rd Annual Survey Results

The 3rd Annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey, sponsored by North Bridge Venture Partners and GigaOM Research, is the industry’s broadest survey. With 57 collaborators, the survey is our largest to date and examines viewpoints on drivers, inhibitors and opportunities in cloud computing across a sample of 855 respondents, including business users, IT decision makers and cloud vendors. More than a third of respondents were C-level executives within their organizations.

Key findings in the study include:

  • Business is driving cloud adoption in the Everything-as-a-Service era (EaaSe)
  • IT is investing heavily to catch up and support consumers graduating from Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC)
  • Opportunities exist for vendors to mitigate reliability, security and complexity challenges associated with increasingly hybrid cloud environments
  • Industry concerns around interoperability and vendor lock-in are provoking change in the form of more APIs and greater data portability

More broadly, cloud adoption continued to rise in 2013, with 75 percent of those surveyed reporting the use of some sort of cloud platform – up from 67 percent last year. That growth is consistent with forecasts from GigaOM Research, which expects the total worldwide addressable market for cloud computing to reach $158.8B by 2014, an increase of 126.5 percent from 2011.

This year’s survey finds several important shifts in why and how cloud computing is being used, obstacles to adoption, where cloud decision-making resides within organizations, and how the vendor landscape is changing. It also serves as a barometer for the industry’s progression. Feedback from across the different categories of respondents was consistent, signaling a convergence of vendor and user needs. Further, the survey reveals that business is driving the revolution, deriving clear benefits from cloud adoption in the form of continuous innovation and business agility to yield competitive advantage.
Other findings in the study point to the following:

  • In five years, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents expect hybrid clouds to be the core of their cloud strategies overtaking public and private clouds
  • The fastest growth today is in IaaS, with usage rising from 35 percent to 45 percent, a 29 percent increase over the prior year
  • Of the 16 cloud application areas tracked, four business applications (file sharing, business productivity, CRM/marketing and social business/collaboration) are in use by more than half of all organizations
  • Six out of the top seven fastest areas of growth in cloud applications will be in IT areas:  Big Data, mobile, systems management, backup/DR/BC, helpdesk and security
  • Though still the top inhibitor, security is declining year-over-year from 55 percent of respondents in 2012 to only 46 percent in 2013

What these results suggest is that even in the third year of our survey, we are still very early in the cloud-computing revolution. Yet, the cloud formations we identified in last year’s survey are clearly on an unstoppable rise. Self-empowered consumers and businesses are taking the lead, and in many instances, regardless of IT. But IT is investing heavily by both adapting internal infrastructure and adopting public infrastructure to respond on demand, while managing the inevitable issues of compliance and regulation through hybrid approaches. And to realize the promise of the cloud, there is a clear call for the industry as a whole to help reduce complexity, and provide better interoperability.

As noted earlier, business is clearly driving the cloud revolution, resulting from the fact that they are adopting and using cloud services in a “boundary-less” way where they can seamlessly integrate them at home and work across all their devices. One of the other interesting developments is that we’re seeing the development of new cloud formations such as the rise of the “Sensor Cloud” which is further driving this boundary-less adoption and use. And in an increasingly mobile pattern of business today, companies are compelled to accept and adopt not just BYOD policies and processes but a comprehensive BYOC approach.

From a strategic standpoint, businesses themselves are adopting the boundary-less approach as they look to disintermediate and save money from their value chains, focus on their core competencies and “out-service” (outsource non-core services via the cloud). With all this in mind, they are looking to gain competitive advantage from a core benefit of the cloud - namely continuous innovation and all the benefits of big data in driving their business - by passing it along to their customers in the form of better products or services, faster time to market and responsiveness to market needs.

The full release revealing all of the findings can be found here and the related presentation is below:

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