Clouds (2)

Adoption of cloud for key business applications is extremely widespread in the UK, but there is no uniform or consistent approach to procurement or strategy among UK companies. This is the key message from recent research conducted by Managed Cloud Services Provider, Adapt.

The research also shows that while more than half of UK businesses see cloud as a means of removing cost from their businesses, actually achieving this objective is proving challenging, creating a gap between expectation and reality. Businesses that look to cloud to support enhancement and optimisation initiatives however are finding it easier to deliver the benefits promised.

Key Findings:

  • 92% of medium size and 85% of large businesses report that they now use cloud services in one form or another (an average of 88.5% across the sample).
  • While more than half of businesses (57%) viewed cloud as a way to reduce the cost of their IT, a significant proportion (42%) were finding it a challenge to meet that objective.
  • Cloud is delivering more effectively for those who approach it with broader enhancement or optimisation objectives (45% expected cloud to improve business flexibility, for example, but only 22% saw it as the most challenging objective).
  • The majority of businesses surveyed are aware that their staff are using unapproved cloud-based services for storing data, applications and services.
While the figures demonstrate that the case for cloud has been made, medium to large businesses have still not evaluated how to make the most effective use of cloud services strategically.

This may be because, in part, they are using different cloud providers for different purposes and because the IT department is out of the loop when it comes to the procurement process. The survey found the majority of businesses (55%) were already using more than one cloud provider, with a sixth (16%) using three or more. A key driver in the use of multiple cloud providers has been the bypassing of the IT department by functions such as marketing, business development and sales to identify and procure cloud services specific to their needs.

That figure is likely to be even higher given the number of unapproved cloud services being used by employees within UK businesses. The survey found that 59% of businesses were aware their staff were using unapproved cloud-based services for storing data, applications and services.

With a multiplicity of cloud providers and the growing involvement of other departments in procuring cloud services, the survey reported that a majority of UK businesses (68%) found the prospect of engaging a single supplier that could help them take control of all their different cloud solutions appealing.

Businesses need to recognise the broad availability of customised and niche cloud services has changed procurement behaviour. They need to adapt to these changes to deliver key objectives such as cost reduction, performance improvement, business risk reduction and security enhancement.

Organisations understand that managing a multiple provider strategy has disadvantages and recognise the benefits of a tighter, coordinated approach. The report suggests businesses are finding it a challenge to define and implement a cloud strategy that closes the gap between potential, planning and reality. Where this becomes difficult or unmanageable, businesses should seek advice from Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Our role is to help business identify the right balance and blend of platforms to meet business objectives and pull this together into a custom strategy that is completely aligned with workload and application requirements – from any department.

By Kevin Linsell, Director of Strategy and Architecture at Adapt