Perhaps it feels as though the concept of cloud computing has been around for a long time, and that it’s an expected part of every CIO and CTO’s toolkit. It might be a surprise then to learn that cloud uptake is only at about 20 per cent, even though last year, spend grew by almost 50 per cent.
It could be argued that individual consumer adoption of cloud has been faster and more widespread than at enterprise level. Simply ticking the box on your phone that enables iCloud photo makes you an instant participant in the cloud revolution. Of about 1 billion iOS devices in market, there are about 782 million iCloud users. That’s significant uptake, especially when you consider it generates 200,000 iMessages per second.
Additionally, the services provided by companies such as Dropbox, Amazon and Netflix are only possible because of cloud technologies. People have become very used to the advantages of the cloud, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when employees begin asking for the same conveniences from their workplace.
Initially, commercial cloud computing was simply a way to offload applications from a data centre to a more elastic compute-and-store environment, with the promise of greater performance on demand and/or lower costs.
Each iteration of the cloud has improved on that basic premise, adding features and reducing costs in line with Moore’s law (the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits has doubled every year since their invention).
Adopt early and innovate
This “lift-and-shift” trend has provided a glimpse of the benefits for organisations. If technology teams can save money on infrastructure, where can that money be invested to improve the customer or employee experience?
What intellectual capital is being freed up to think about what’s next, rather than the heavy lifting required to maintain the “boxes and wires”? And as system complexity and security concerns increase, where does organisational core competency end and smart outsourcing begin?
Increased accessibility of cloud infrastructure means start-ups, as well as existing application providers, have been able to move their offerings and innovate in the process.
However, for all the benefits, the data shows us cloud computing is still in its early days. The proportion of businesses adopting cloud as the primary compute-and-store environment is still in the minority, and this leads to some important concerns.
First, if cloud is offering such important benefits, how is your business taking advantage of these? Second, what are the likely opportunity costs for not moving to the cloud now, especially if your competitors or disruptors are already doing so?