Cloud Computing Adoption Grows, but Hurdles Remain

Security continues to be a strong barrier, with fewer than half (49 percent) of respondents concerned about how secure their data is in the cloud.

cloud computing and IT management

Nearly half of organizations are using the cloud to fuel revenue generation or new product creation, according to a survey of 1,358 respondents conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners in conjunction with Gigaom Research and 72 collaborating organizations.

The company’s fourth annual survey, which analyzed the inhibitors and drivers behind cloud adoption, found 45 percent of businesses said they already, or plan to, run their company from the cloud showing how integral cloud is to business.

"This wave of cloud computing that's revenue- and new-business driven is good news for long-suffering IT execs,” David Card, vice president of Gigaom Research, said in a statement. “If they can offload tedious but necessary cost-center functions, and refocus resources on cloud-driven new business, they might be able to retake their seat at the C-table."

In addition, 56 percent of businesses are using infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) technologies to harness elastic computing resources, 41 percent of businesses are using platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technologies to prototype and develop new applications, and adoption of software as a service (SaaS) also appears to be reaching a tipping point.

"With four years of data, we're now really beginning to see some interesting trends, such as the five-fold increase in SaaS adoption to 74 percent and the nearly six-fold increase in PaaS adoption to 41 percent," Michael Skok, founder of the Future of Cloud program and general partner with North Bridge Venture Partners, said in a statement.

The survey indicated SaaS adoption has more than quintupled, from 13 percent adoption in 2011 to 74 percent in this year’s survey, but the report noted in the enterprise it is still mostly transitioning existing applications.

The front office is leading the way with sales and marketing at 51 percent adoption, customer service and analytics both at 43 percent adoption, according to the survey.

"With over 11,000 cloud services and APIs, and developer adoption of IaaS at 56 percent and PaaS at 46 percent, we are going to begin seeing the birth of new, re-imagined, cloud-native applications," Skok said. "These applications, which are only possible in the cloud, will result in an order of magnitude greater value creation than the first cloud front. This second cloud front will be transformative."

The report also revealed two-thirds of respondents believe their data will come to reside in some form of cloud over the next two years as bigger data needs consolidation, and collaboration and creation go online.

On the inhibitor front, security continues to be a strong barrier with just under half (49 percent) of respondents concerned about how secure their data is in the cloud.

Privacy concerns also rose once again to 31 percent in 2014 as increased tension manifested itself between the desire for anonymity and the convenience and utility of personalization.

Fear of vendor lock-in was still 29 percent, which put focus on open-source cloud projects, like OpenStack, that have grown significantly, the report noted.

Interoperability as an inhibitor saw a significant decrease from 27 percent last year to 17 percent in 2014 with greater attention being paid to issues such as data portability.