Whatever your initial opinion of cloud computing was, chances are you had one. As the innovative technology settled into the mainstream marketplace in recent years, it has encountered just about everything but indifference. But as we turn to the next chapter in the story, it looks like the majority of former critics and skeptics are softening their stances.
Open minds and open wallets
For the third consecutive year, researchers from CompTIA have taken the pulse of the cloud computing industry with a comprehensive survey of 500 IT and business professionals and 400 delegates from specialized IT firms. This year's report paints a particularly attractive portrait for curious cloud service providers.
According to CompTIA, more than 80 percent of all companies surveyed now deploy cloud-based solutions in one form or another. This figure represents the second straight year that lingering doubts have given way to overall growth.
These firms have no intentions of staying in the shallow end of the pool, however. More than half of responding organizations are planning to increase their cloud investments by more than 10 percent in the coming year.
Now that persistent IT administrators have convinced their business colleagues to sign off on their cloud ambitions, a number of important organizational changes are likely in store.
"Internal IT departments also are on the edge of major transformation," CompTIA technology analysis director Seth Robinson said. "The option for cloud solutions for various parts of the computing stack is opening the doors for IT professionals to perform new tasks, or at least perform old tasks in new ways. It's also creating new job roles and functions to more tightly integrate IT teams with lines of businesses."
Though greater interdepartmental collaboration is on the agenda for most, IT teams are starting to realize that the answers to their more complex questions likely lie outside company walls. This is especially true for small and midsize firms growing into enterprise-grade capabilities for the first time.
"Advanced software for analytics, unified communications, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and other sophisticated technology solutions were often out of the price range or skill set of many businesses," CompTIA industry analysis director Carolyn April explained. "With cloud-based solutions and delivery and either set monthly pricing or a pay-as-you-go model, these technologies come within the financial reach of even the smallest of businesses."
Acquiring and optimizing cloud services are two vastly different tasks, however. Currently, just one in five organizations are contracting with an outside firm to manage cloud transitions. But as firms soon realize the value in - and emerging need for - custom tuned technology, CompTIA expects that number to grow in the next few months.