Cloud Adoption Rates: Are You Ahead Of Or Behind Your Competitors?

By Phil Rainsberger

Think cloud computing's still a fad? Still a bit of risky business that's not quite ready for prime-time in the business world?

And do you still feel your company can afford to sit on the sidelines while other companies—and quite possibly your current and future competitors—jump into the cloud-computing game?

Well, consider this prediction from Gartner, the world's largest and most widely used IT-research firm: This year, Gartner predicts that the worldwide market for public-cloud services will reach a quarter of a trillion dollars—$246.8 billion, to be precise. That number is expected to be up 18% over the $209 billion spent on public-cloud services in 2016—so clearly, a lot of businesses are already jumping into the cloud and investing significant dollars in hopes of cutting IT costs, boosting innovation, and applying more focus to their core business and customers and less to running IT systems.

And by 2020, that global market for cloud-computing spending will hit $390 billion, says a report from Bain.

This growing interest in the cloud isn't just a pipe-dream coming from IT professionals—surveys indicate that CEOs, CFOs, CMOs and other C-level execs believe they can derive significant competitive advantage in the cloud.

For CFOs in particular, another report offers overwhelming evidence that finance chiefs are full committed to using the cloud as a source of significant financial benefit and business value. A nationwide survey of CFOs finds that 74% of those executives believe that the cloud computing will be the technology exerting the greatest impact on their businesses in 2017.

What's driving this surge to the cloud? According to the Gartner research cited above, the key drivers are business-centric issues rather than tech-centric campaigns: "Organizations are pursuing strategies because of the multidimensional value of cloud services, including values such as agility, scalability, cost benefits, innovation and business growth," said Gartner research director Sid Nag. "While all external-sourcing decisions will not result in a virtually automatic move to the cloud, buyers are looking to the 'cloud first' in their decisions, in support of time-to-value impact via speed of implementation."

It's also becoming clear that over the next several years, businesses of all sizes and across all industries will deploy both traditional on-premises systems and cloud-computing services—there's no way this move to the cloud is an all-or-nothing bet.

But that means that companies can no longer afford to sit back and hope that, somehow, the business innovations sparked by the cloud will bypass their industries—that's simply not going to happen. And business leaders who keep putting off taking that first step on their cloud journeys will face a very difficult and high-risk catch-up challenge.

If you'd like to take a look at a couple of dozen other research findings about cloud computing, I'd recommend a article by Louis Columbus as a great start: Roundup Of Cloud Computing Forecasts, 2017. While each of the many reports summarized and linked to by Columbus toss out a slew of numbers, the unmistakable overarching message is this: cloud computing is real, it's become fully mainstream, it can be a great source of business innovation and value, and those who choose to dismiss the cloud as a fad will soon find their businesses are hard-pressed to compete in today's increasingly digital world.

To learn more about the recent increasing cloud adoption rates, join us for a live webinar on Wednesday, October 4th at 2pm ET for a discussion around a recent McKinsey report says that businesses of all sizes, and across all industries, are moving aggressively to the cloud to lower IT costs, offer faster time to innovation, and support digital transformation. This webinar will discuss some of those findings from McKinsey and focus on helping you determine if your company's cloud strategy puts you at a competitive advantage—or disadvantage.