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April 14, 2015updated 30 Aug 2016 12:34pm

Reality check needed as businesses doubt cloud potential

No definitive answers for which app goes on which platform.

By Ellie Burns

A new report published today has revealed that despite the hype in cloud, 4 in 10 believe it is falling short of its potential. A similar number (41%) find managing cloud vendors confusing.

Highlighting a lack of clear answers over which kinds of applications are best suited to which environments, the NTT Communications study urges decision makers to adopt a new approach to ICT transformation through cloud computing.

The study did reveal a strong interest in cloud, with cloud accounting for 28% of corporate ICT budgets by 2018 and 80% of respondents expecting their organisation’s individual cloud platforms to grow in the next three years.

Despite this interest, more than one in five respondents admit to having no timelines for migrating their most important corporate data centre applications to the cloud, with the compliance, security and governance of corporate data in the cloud the most important challenge cited.

The study highlights a clear lack of answers adds to the challenges ICT decision-makers face.

Two thirds of applications are hosted in ‘protected and closed’ environments such as the corporate data centre, colocation facilities, managed hosting, or private infrastructure as a service (IaaS), while Public IaaS and software as a service (SaaS) account for a further quarter of applications.

Less than 10 percent of respondents say they are using Platform as a Service (PaaS) for any kind of application.

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The study also reveals that the adoption of bi-modal IT is being undermined by the proliferation of ICT platforms, diverting resources towards application development and away from management tasks.

Despite more respondents spending more time on developing functionality for applications hosted in the cloud than they do for those in the data centre, far higher numbers are spending more time on management across both environments (55% for data centre applications, and 44% for those in the cloud).

Len Padilla, VP Product Strategy at NTT Com, said: "Our study shows the reality of cloud in 2015 is potentially as complex as the world it was supposed to replace. ICT decision-makers harbour significant frustrations over cloud, and there are no clear answers over which kinds of applications belong where.

"This is the cloud reality check in 2015 – there needs to be a far smoother migration path from the data centre to the cloud. A different kind of planning approach is required for companies to achieve the large-scale digital transformations business executives are demanding."

The study was clear, however, in showing that respondents did recognise the benefits of the cloud in business.

Half of respondents credit their most important cloud-based applications with the ability to scale in line with demand. Similar proportions recognise the cloud’s ability to achieve cost efficiencies, in terms of reduced capex (highlighted by 47%) and opex (highlighted by 45%).

Padilla continues: "ICT decision-makers see the cloud as a compelling enabling technology for digital transformation, – there’s no better way to take a new app from the sandbox to global production quickly. However, our study suggests focusing on ambitious plans is not the best approach.

"Focusing on continuous improvement and incremental steps is a far more effective strategy. We hope our findings will help ICT decision-makers formulate strategies for adopting real-world cloud solutions that work for their businesses."

The NTT study, conducted by Vanson Bourne, polled 1,580 CIOs, IT Directors and senior IT decision makers, of companies with more than 250 employees in the UK, USA, France, Germany, Spain and the Benelux region.

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