By Marcus Leach

A recent report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown that in the year ahead firms are planning to invest in IT, but scaling back spending on other items such as land, buildings, vehicles, plant and machinery, with the most commonly cited factors being the uncertainty about demand and business prospects, and an inadequate return on investment.

These findings are borne out by the Global Cloud Survey from KPMG this month which expects 2012 investment to skyrocket with 81% of businesses either planning , are in early or advanced stages of experimentation, or already have fully adopted cloud computing.

In the face of a tough economy, Andrew Gilbert, managing director at leading UK data centre and communications firm Node4 has grown his company to a turnover of £11 million in seven years and puts the amazing performance down to cloud computing and the growing realisation that data centres (infrastructure at the back-end of cloud computing) are essential - making it the fastest growing area of technology.

“As companies endeavor to survive the recession they increasingly look at what is essential and what is not. IT has become part of the very fabric of modern business infrastructure and with cloud computing offering significant savings whilst also delivering improvements in efficiencies, its adoption has received a significant boost in the current economic climate,” Gilbert said.

“This year has been an important one for Node4 because a growing number of companies are seeing the business case for using the cloud to outsource their computing solutions. Our business has evolved to embrace the changing landscape in the delivery of IT services so more companies have access to top level services without the initial upfront payment.”

As companies continue to increase their investment in IT, cloud providers have also been encouraged by KPMG to emphasise the benefits of the cloud that extend beyond the economic advantages. As well as being a cost effective solution, Node4 has been widely commended for its ‘data centre on your doorstep’ approach involving four data centres across the country and its use of high end equipment that provides reliable performance and assurance from a business continuity standpoint.

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