Survey: Consumerization of IT a big driver to the cloud

Cloud adopters worldwide say supporting multiple devices trumps cost-cutting as top reason for embracing the cloud

Though cost-savings is often the biggest sales pitches for embracing the cloud, 33 percent of respondents in a survey titled "CSC Cloud Usage Index," conducted by research company TNS on behalf of CSC, say they've moved cloudward primarily to keep employees connected via the various computing devices that have invaded the enterprise. Compare that to 17 percent who cited reduced costs as the impetus to enter the cloud.

TNS surveyed 3,645 companies worldwide in an effort to determine how cloud adoption has affected their business operations. Beyond revealing that supporting an array of computing platforms was a top priority, the survey also found that most companies have realized savings from the cloud, though not necessarily as much as they'd hoped.

The fact that one-third of respondents cited the need to better connect employees who use a multitude of computing devices as their No. 1 reason to adopt the cloud may not come as a significant surprise, given the consumerization of IT trend with which organizations are struggling. Users are increasingly turning to their personal mobile devices -- Android, iOS, or otherwise -- to do their work while away from the PCs. IT, in turn, has to deal with providing support for more platforms than ever before. It's understandably enough to give companies cause to turn to third-party cloud providers capable of delivering data and services to any and all popular platforms.

As noted recently by InfoWorld's cloud computing blogger, David Linthicum, "With the continued rise of mobile computing and the reliance on clouds to support mobile applications, mobile devices will have more capabilities, but the data will live in the cloud. Apple's iCloud is just one example."

Second to the need to support multiple platforms but ahead of cost reduction as the behind cloud adoption: speed. Twenty-one percent of respondents cited speeding up business processes as the top draw for moving to the cloud. Most companies did report reaping a quick performance boost from cloud adoption; in terms of overall IT performance, 93 percent said the cloud has improved data center efficiency or utilization or some other aspect of IT services. Eighty percent saw these sorts of improvements within six months of moving to the cloud.

According to the survey, 82 percent of all organizations saw costs drop thanks to their cloud initiative. CSC described the cost reductions as "modest," saying, "Thirty-five percent of all organizations save less than $20,000. In addition, 23 percent of all U.S. organizations and 45 percent of U.S. organizations with fewer than 50 employees report no savings."

IT workers concerned about the cloud's impact on their careers might take some comfort in this finding: Only 14 percent of companies downsized their IT departments after adopting the cloud, while 20 percent of organizations hired more cloud experts. Still, it wouldn't hurt for IT pros to continue bolstering their skill set; certifications are not a recipe for success.

Environmental enthusiasts may be pleased to learn that 64 percent of organizations who have embraced the cloud report sustainability gainst through reduced waste and lower energy consumption. That data supports previous studies suggesting that cloud computing has green benefits.

The CSC Cloud Usage Index [PDF] can be viewed online.

This story, "Survey: Consumerization of IT a big driver to the cloud," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.