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21 Nov 2012
But how will IT answer those tricky questions about which workloads to migrate to the cloud - and when?
For many company bosses, the idea of putting core computing services in the hands of new providers, located 'in the cloud', has been a no-go. But not anymore - as long as they have a private cloud option - says a recent survey commissioned by Infosys from research company IDC.
This summer, IDC spoke to 326 executives from organisations in the US, UK, France and Germany. It found that 69 percent of respondents have, in one way or another, embarked on the private cloud journey and 40 percent are now also moving to the public and hybrid cloud.
The survey threw up some unexpected results. "The survey indicates that US organisations are less likely to have set a formal cloud strategy and roadmap, compared with European organisations," writes IDC analyst, Marianne Kolding. "On the face of it, this is a surprising finding, since US organisations typically lead European ones in adoption of new technologies. However, based on IDC's ongoing research, we believe that there is scope for interpretations of the results," she says.
In short, IDC believes that cloud is more integrated into "the overarching IT strategy", rather than being a standalone silo within it. In Europe, the company suggests, more organisations claim to have shaped a clear cloud strategy, but in fact, this is often quite "nascent" and doesn't really involve a mature roadmap.
What really stands out from the research, however, it that whatever region they operate in, companies still need to buy into the vision of how cloud can change business models and help them innovate overall - and not just how it can help internal processes. "Consequently, enterprises have yet to see the full benefits that cloud promises to bring - and indeed the ROI [return on investment]," says Kolding.
A larger proportion of organisations in the financial services and telecoms sectors have formalised cloud strategies and roadmaps than have other sectors (38 percent and 53 percent, respectively), while retail sector organisations have yet to take this step, the survey finds.
But this trend towards greater public, private and hybrid cloud adoption will leave IT organisations with some pretty tricky questions to answer, says Kolding. "As organisations increase their investments in cloud and get more experience in adoption different types of cloud for different purposes, the result will be more complex cloud environments," she says. "With increased complexity, it becomes critical for organisations to keep a solid, holistic view of the services available, as well as the resources that are required across the full cloud ecosystem, and to control the different vendors and parts of the cloud ecosystem, in order to retain the flexibility to choose best-in-class cloud services."