Cloud computing 2018: How enterprise adoption is taking shape

Research: Nine out of ten companies will have some part of their applications or infrastructure in the cloud by 2019, and the rest expect to follow by 2021. Here’s how they’re making the shift

Cloud computing 2018: How enterprise adoption is taking shape
Stephen Leonardi (CC0)

A 2018 cloud computing study by IDG Communications, InfoWorld’s parent company, has found that organizations continue to increase their investment and evolve their cloud environments to leverage the technology to drive their business forward. With 73 percent of the 550 surveyed organizations having at least one application, or a portion of their computing infrastructure already in the cloud, it is no longer a question of if organizations will adopt cloud, but how.

The study discovered several key trends about the how of enterprise cloud adoption, including reduced concerns over cloud providers’ security, the increasing complexity of cloud deployments, and the increase in as-a-service deployment thinking.

The cloud is evolving into complex environments

Cloud environments are maturing and, in some cases, growing more complex. While 43 percent are using hybrid cloud only and 12 percent are using multicloud only, 30 percent are using both. The perceived benefits of using multicloud include:

  • increased cloud options (59 percent)
  • easier and faster disaster recovery (40 percent)
  • increased flexibility by allowing the spread of workloads across multiple clouds (38 percent

The evolution of more complex environments has also generated the need for, or discussion around, viewing cloud providers as a portfolio, with 51 percent of respondents beginning to think this way. Organizations in technology-dependent industries are much more apt to be thinking of cloud providers within a portfolio strategy: financial services (63 percent) and high tech (63 percent) top the list, whereas manufacturing (43 percent) and education (41 percent) are least likely to be thinking of cloud providers within a portfolio strategy.

See the details on how enterprises are adopting the cloud in their operations. IDG Research

Cloud spending is on the rise as the benefits become clearer

As business stakeholders see the benefits and results of cloud adoption, more than one third of respondents (38 percent) shared that their IT department feels pressure to migrate 100 percent to the cloud. Enterprise organizations (companies with 1,000 or more employees) are feeling that pressure more than their small and medium business counterparts (companies with fewer than 1,000 employees). Forty-four percent of enterprise organizations, compared with 31 percent of small to medium organizations, feel pressure from executive management or individual lines of business to migrate 100 percent to the cloud.

“IT organizations are being asked to improve the speed of IT service delivery and react to changing market conditions. Cloud solutions provide the flexibility to do just that,” says Julie Ekstrom, senior vice president of IDG Communications. “Organizations are relying on a mix of cloud delivery models to meet this need. However, it requires management of multiple vendors. As tech executives explore new areas of cloud investment, they examine their portfolio of cloud vendors to see what solutions can grow and what new vendors will work collaboratively with their existing portfolio for ease of adoption.”

The percent of IT budgets allocated to cloud computing has remained relatively consistent at 30 percent in the 2018 study, compared with 28 percent in 2016. However, total dollars spent are increasing this year, especially by small to medium businesses. The average overall investment jumped from $1.6 million in 2016 to $2.2 million in 2018. Small and medium businesses’ cloud budgets increased from $286,000 in 2016 to $889,000 in 2018. Enterprise investment levels saw an increase from $3.0 million in 2016 to $3.5 million in 2018.

Given that cloud consumes a substantial portion of tech spending, it is not surprising that the CIO or top IT executive is the most influential role in the cloud computing purchase process. Overall, 71 percent say he or she has significant influence, with the CTO function or role second at 54 percent. For small and medium business respondents, the CEO is also influential (72 percent), whereas for enterprise organizations the No. 2 spot is taken by the CSO and IT architect (both at 87 percent).

Cloud delivery models: Moving to an as-a-service world

The makeup of IT organizations’ computing environment—the percent of their environments made of the mix of noncloud, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS—is split fairly evenly between noncloud and cloud. But that is expected to change. Currently, the average environment is 53 percent noncloud, 23 percent SaaS, 16 percent IaaS, and 9 percent PaaS. Over the next 18 months respondents expect this to evolve to 31 percent noncloud, 33 percent SaaS, 22 percent IaaS, and 14 percent PaaS.

What drives SaaS adoption

The two biggest factors driving the adoption of SaaS benefit the IT team in organizations:

  • less time spent on manual updates and maintenance (62 percent)
  • increased productivity/decreased labor time (55 percent)

The next two factors—greater access and reliability, and enhanced user experience (both 53 percent)—have a direct benefit to users.

What drives PaaS adoption

The top objectives driving the adoption of PaaS are:

  • Savings on server and storage overhead (56 percent)
  • No longer having to manage updates and maintenance (51 percent)

What drives IaaS adoption

The top objectives driving the adoption of IaaS are:

  • Scalability (68 percent)
  • Flexibilty (53 percent)

Which applications are being migrated to the cloud

The top applications organizations have or currently are moving to the cloud are:

  • website/web apps (49 percent)
  • collaboration and communications solutions (45 percent)

Top applications in the planning stages—those that will be migrated either in the next 12 months, or in one to three years—are:

  • disaster recovery/high availability (49 percent)
  • BI/data warehouse/data analytics (45 percent)
  • storage/archive/backup/file server (44 percent)
  • system management/devops (42 percent)

Challenges in cloud adoption

The top challenges or barriers to implementing a cloud computing strategy remain:

  • Vendor lockin (47 percent)
  • Where data is stored (34 percent)
  • The security of cloud computing solutions (34 percent)

It is interesting to note that the results show a steady decline in security concerns—from a high of 67 percent in 2015 to 34 percent in 2018. Two other security or governance concerns also appear to be decreasing over time as cloud offerings have matured:

  • Compliance—the ability of cloud computing solutions to meet enterprise and/or industry standards. It was at a high of 35 percent in 2015 but down to 26 percent in 2018.
  • Concerns about information governance (e-discovery and other information management requirements) with a high of 35 percent in 2014 but down to 23 percent 2018.

About the 2018 IDG Cloud Computing Survey

IDG’s 2018 Cloud Computing Survey was conducted online among the audiences of six IDG brands (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld, and Network World) that represent IT and security decision-makers across multiple industries. To be considered qualified, respondents must have reported cloud usage was planned or currently used at their organization. Furthermore, respondents must have reported personal involvement in the purchase process for cloud solutions at their organization.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.