The Cloud's No Longer a Fad—It's Become a Mainstream Tool For Business

12/21/2017
By Phil Rainsberger

After years of relentless hype, misinformed speculation, and often-empty promises, cloud computing has arrived as a fully credible and highly capable foundation for business innovation and digital opportunity.

From the world's largest global corporations to mid-sized businesses and even small companies, business leaders across every industry are placing their full faith and confidence in the cloud as a highly dependable and secure IT approach that will let them:

  • lower their overall IT costs, 

  • spend more money on customer-oriented growth initiatives and less on endless and expensive integration and patching and testing,

  • get out of the "IT factory" business,

  • provide modern and easy-to-use tools that make sales teams more successful, and

  • begin moving strategically into the realm of digital transformation.

And from the highly respected tech-industry research firm IDC, here are some specific numbers to demonstrate how broadly and how deeply cloud computing has moved into the business world, according to a recent news story from ComputerWeekly.com:

In the first half of 2017, businesses around the world spent $63.3 billion on public cloud services. That's more than $10 billion per month and about $2.4 billion per week throughout the first half of this year. And that's up by a whopping 28% over the $49.2 billion spent on public cloud services in the first half of 2016, according to IDC.

Within that $63.3 billion, the applications segment of the cloud—called SaaS or Software as a Service—accounted for $43.4 billion of that total. The SaaS category represents the business applications that automate many of the operations and processes for companies, so clearly business leaders are showing huge levels of trust in the ability of the cloud to handle these mission-critical workloads.

The biggest shift in this SaaS—or applications—segment is that executives are putting increasingly greater levels of trust in having these business-critical applications delivered through the cloud.

IDC vice president Eric Newmark described it this way in the ComputerWeekly article: “Many companies have picked the low-hanging fruit, in terms of apps that could be easily moved to the cloud, and are now evaluating the migration of their next set of larger strategic systems such as ERP (enterprise resource planning), supply-chain applications, and so on, to a SaaS model."

The other two layers of the cloud—IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, and PaaS, or Platform as a Service—deliver the hardware and highly technical software that manage the applications. IDC said that in the first half of 2017, the IaaS slice of the cloud accounted for $11.2 billion of the total public-cloud market, while PaaS came in at $8.6 billion, according to the article.

IDC senior vice-president and chief analyst Frank Gens said cloud adoption is becoming the major factor in separating businesses into what could be described as the "digital haves" versus the "digital have-nots."

“Public cloud adoption is accelerating in large part as enterprises recognize that the cloud has become the launchpad for virtually every new IT innovation in the past 24 months – including AI, blockchain, quantum computing and more," Gens is quoted as saying in the ComputerWeekly.com article.

And Gens offers a stark warning to businesses that remain uncommitted to the cloud: "Organizations not on the public cloud will be increasingly isolated from the world of tech innovation.”

In a world that's moving faster all the time, with customers becoming more demanding and businesses needing to move at the speed of those customers, the cloud is becoming an indispensable of modern business strategy and operations.

So if you haven't yet committed to the cloud, the time is now.