Cloud continues to give companies competitive advantage, report shows

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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More organisations are saying cloud computing gives them a competitive advantage, but fewer are saying it gives their company a significant advantage, according to the latest figures from Verizon.

The report, the third annual ‘State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud’ paper released by the telco giant, found 77% of firms cite cloud as a competitive advantage, compared with 74% this time last year. Yet only 16% argue cloud gives significant advantage this time round, down from 30% in 2014.

37% of organisations say cloud has enabled their firm to adapt its business model, with a further 19% saying they were working towards it, and 25% saying they were considering it. By 2018, Verizon argues half of companies will be putting at least three quarters of their workloads in the cloud.

Verizon argues there are three types of persona which any company can identify with:

  • The sceptics: These companies, Verizon notes, aren’t luddites in terms of what cloud can do for their business – they almost certainly will use SaaS apps – but are restricted on what they can do. The financial services industry is a good example. Only 6% of survey respondents expect less than 25% of their workloads in the cloud by 2018.
  • The pragmatists: These are companies which are taking a measured approach to cloud, steadily creating an enterprise-class infrastructure using standard components from cloud providers tied together using APIs and orchestration services.
  • The natives: These are the cloud-first, or cloud-only, businesses, using cloud-based ERP and CRM software and utilising the subscription economy, rather than buying servers.

Elsewhere, more than a quarter (27%) of businesses are already using private cloud, while a further 17% plan to implement it. Organisations are also becoming less cloud-phobic; 87% of those polled say they think cloud is at least as reliable as on-premises infrastructure, while four in five say it is as least as secure. 93% of companies say they are using two or more cloud providers, while a quarter are using an eye-watering 10.

“Last year, the news was that cloud was being used for mission-critical workloads; now enterprises are using it to transform how they achieve that mission,” commented Ryan Shuttleworth, cloud chief technology officer for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “Companies are using cloud technologies to create new customer experiences, reengineer their business processes, find new opportunities to grow, and manage risk and compliance measures,” he added.

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