Corporate IT decision makers in the United States are increasingly attracted to business-grade cloud computing for services such as customer relationship management and enterprise relationship management and are willing to engage service providers they haven’t worked with in the past in order to get them, a new study finds.
The study, by International Data Corp. and T-Systems, the IT outsourcing services arm of Deutsche Telekom AG, also found that overall security concerns with the cloud are becoming less of a factor for technology executives. More fine-grained concerns about compliance, reliability and data availability remain, but aren’t keeping buyers out of the game. Rather, the cloud conversation is shifting to one of cloud type (public, private or hybrid) as opposed to cloud versus no cloud.
“As the U.S. cloud services market continues to mature, enterprises find that overall business impact and productivity gains from the cloud are as significant as achieving cost reductions,” said David Tapper, IDC’s vice president of outsourcing and offshore services market research.
As for use case, nearly a third (31 percent) said they were targeting cloud solution for CRM. 28 percent were looking to cloud-enable their productivity tools such as e-mail, collaboration or Microsoft Corp. Office packages, while 26 percent said ERP was on the cloud docket.
According to the survey of 104 U.S. businesses conducted over the summer, 44 percent of executives say they will address IT needs through cloud solutions, and are planning to invest more in cloud computing in the future. About one quarter (26 percent) said they feel cloud will reduce IT costs, while 21 percent feel the as-a-service technologies will allow them to replace their legacy IT systems. 14 percent said the cloud should let them adopt new applications with more flexibility.
Security concerns about the cloud are no longer the decisive criterion when considering the technology, the study found. Where companies do see a need to better control their IT assets through a private or hybrid cloud initiative, enterprises are increasingly seeking the counsel of cloud service providers to fulfill their security requirements and agree on SLAs. 40 percent said they have implemented some sort of private cloud strategy while only 13 percent are relying on public cloud and 16 percent on hybrid cloud solutions.
That’s a boon to service providers seeking new clients in the cloud delivery space. In ERP, for example, more than half the survey’s respondents said they are considering providers with whom they have had no previous experience. CEOs are most often the decision makers, Tapper said. “Buyers are viewing cloud as strategic in achieving critical business objectives for which CIOs and IT vendors must ensure that their cloud solutions help achieve these objectives and associated business benefits.”
“One of the greatest needs in deploying cloud-based solutions is to find the right partner who can assist with the question of cloud readiness and bring forward a clear plan on how to migrate to the cloud,” said T-Systems North America Managing Director Heike Auerbach. “It was gratifying for us to see that customers profoundly value an experienced partner as they make the journey to the cloud.”