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Cloud on the horizon for most businesses

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Has the cloud really changed business, or is talk of its growth just a lot of hot air? Optus’ 2012 Future of Business Report found that cloud adoption is rising - and so is organisational planning around its use. With adoption on the rise, businesses are getting more comfortable with what the cloud can offer them and how it fits into their own attitudes around security, mobility and access. Here’s what the report found:


1. There are known unknowns.


The Future of Business Report found that a year ago, 7% of respondents categorized their future approach to cloud as “Don’t know”. This year, that figure is down just slightly to 5%, and expected to rise back a little over the next 3-5 years to 8%. In other words, the number of organisations unsure about the cloud isn’t expected to change much across the board. 


Many organisations recognise this gap in knowledge and have already begun to address it. The corporate market is continuing to refine its approach to the cloud, with its proportion of “Don’t know” organisations dropping from 7% last year to 6% this year with an outlook of 4%.


For Government, however, uncertainty over the cloud is growing: the sector’s “Don’t know” percentage went up from 4% last year (the lowest across any segment) to 7% this year with a forecast of 11%, the only sector to increase in uncertainty. The highly specific needs of Government solutions (particularly around security and compliance) are potential contributing factors to this trend.


2. The cloud is growing.


Across the board, organisations have ramped up their cloud adoption, a trend expected to maintain the same pace over the next 3 to 5 years. Last year 40% of respondents were not using any cloud services; this year, that figure dropped to 20%. In fact, only 1 in 5 organisations don’t currently use some form of cloud service. The cloud has truly gone from being a novelty to an entrenched role of the IT landscape.


This already-substantial role will continue to grow over time: in 3 to 5 years, only 13% of organisations will not be using cloud. And despite the growing uncertainty in the Government sector, those Government organisations which do know their Cloud strategy are matching this broader trend of fast adoption. Last year, 36% of Government wasn’t in the cloud in some form; this year, that figure dropped to 20%, with a prediction of 9% over the coming 3 to 5 years.


3. Third-party is first choice.


Until now, third-party cloud services have been a concern for many organisations, since their security and control is in the hands of a third-party provider. This year, however, the biggest growth areas in cloud have been:


  • Software-as-a-Service
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service
  • Hybrid solutions (public and private cloud)

The 2012 Future of Business Report shows that Private Cloud usage is expected to remain stable, while self-developed and in-house off-the-shelf solutions are expected to decline. This suggests organisations are increasingly comfortable with outsourcing their data and hosting requirements to trusted providers - a promising sign of the market’s increasing maturity.


The 2012 Future of Business Report reveals much about Australia’s strategy for cloud. With the exception of Government, this strategy has shifted over the last year towards a major increase in adoption, particularly within external third-party cloud services. As business attitudes to cloud continue to mature, we can expect a bright outlook for organisational outcomes and efficiency alike.


By Rodney Hayward, Optus Business Manager (Cloud Architecture and Development). More from Rodney on Twitter: @rodos

All views expressed are the author’s own.