Large companies new to cloud computing favoured cloud services that provided more business value than just cost savings, strong security and customer support, technology research firm Ovum reported.
“The conversation is now about how cloud can more precisely prove its business value once actually implemented within an enterprise – beyond providing near-term return on investment (ROI) and cost savings,” said the “2014 Trends to Watch: Cloud Services” Ovum report.
Vendors needed to collaborate with clients about a mix of in-house resource development and outsourced services in other areas. For example, a business might use public cloud storage for archived data and in-house storage for operational files.
Enterprises contacted in the survey indicated they were considering moving more quickly to invest in infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service (IaaS and SaaS). Respondents said they would invest within 12 to 24 months compared to 36 months or more in previous surveys.
“The rate of cloud adoption is quickly accelerating; cloud breaks through in virtually every customer conversation,” said John Madden, IT services practice leader and author of the Ovum report.
There was a noticeable rise in cloud-based acquisitions, partnerships, and alliances throughout last year and similar levels of activity in 2014 was expected.
The four key trends were as follows.
1. Business value took higher priority
Businesses were most concerned about leveraging technology for business transformation than short-term cost savings. Transformations included improving customer satisfaction and bringing a product to market faster. Long term and strategic transformations were new market channels and becoming more competitive.
Improving business processes, IT’s responsiveness to business and supporting innovative new business activities all rated higher on average compared to previous surveys. Customers investing in cloud in 2014 needed to focus the business on outcomes rather than immediate cost savings.
2. Security and support were crucial
customers were more satisfied and more likely to stay with a vendor if the cloud service provider clarified took responsibility when a problem occurred and communicated the amount of time to correct issues and the steps taken to prevent future occurrences. Respondents in the survey rated trust and security expertise as the top characteristics when selecting a cloud services provider.
Customers either wanted to work with an established IT services brand with experience and longevity, a provider with whom the customer had previous experience or a provider who gained the trust of customers to deliver enterprise-class services, regardless of experience in the industry.
3. Lack of oversight
While many customers talked about the need for a solid cloud services strategy, with proper governance and other procedures in place, the survey showed many respondents lacked such a strategy.
Almost half the respondents had an overall cloud strategy but only one-third had governance, integration or compliance strategies in place.
“It is possible that some respondents were simply unaware whether their organization’s cloud strategy included those elements – but that is an even more troubling thought, as governance and compliance specifically relate to legal, data access, privacy, and security issues,” the report said.
4. Hybrids cloud and integrated services
These two areas were emerging as major differentiators for IT services and outsourcing providers.
Private cloud and virtual private cloud were more common deployment models for cloud services, but the use of public cloud was on the rise, especially among public sector clients.
Over time, more enterprise customers looked to set up hybrid cloud models that combined private and public clouds from multiple providers within their organisation.