The latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) reveals that the overall cloud adoption rate in the UK now stands at 88%, with 67% of users expecting to increase their adoption of cloud services over the coming year.
However, while organisations are clearly taking a cloud-first approach, the industry body predicts that the vast majority of companies will be maintaining hybrid IT estates for some time to come.
Conducted in February 2017, the research, polled 250 IT and business decision-makers in large enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and public sector organisations.
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The results reveal that since the first research was conducted in 2010, the overall cloud adoption rate has increased by 83%, with an increase of 5% since last year.
There has been a more significant increase in cloud adoption amongst small and public sector organisations, who have previously trailed behind overall adoption, with adoption rates now standing at 82% for both, up from 54% and 62%, respectively, a year ago.
The majority of respondents (58%) described their organisation as having a hybrid approach to IT and 54% expect to eventually move their entire IT estate to remotely hosted cloud services, with 8% of the smallest organisations in the sample having already done so.
Despite this, inhibitors to cloud adoption still remain, including concerns over data privacy (62%) and a lack of budget (35%), meaning that a ‘cloud-everything’ model is still not yet feasible for all organisations.
Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF, commented: “This research highlights how far the IT landscape has come since we first conducted this research in 2010. We are entering an unprecedented time of change as digital technologies disrupt entire industries and customer expectations.”
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“Cloud is critical in enabling companies to cope with this change and this research highlights how organisations are increasingly and consistently warming to the cloud delivery model, especially as they begin the realise the benefits to be had from migrating their apps and infrastructure to the cloud.”
The most commonly used cloud-services are those for traditional web hosting (65%), but a marked growth of PaaS (53%), and office productivity tools (50%) was established.
By 2020 three-quarters of respondents expect to have adopted cloud-based video-conferencing systems and the adoption of cloud for data backup/disaster recovery (63%) and customer contact centre (57%) are also expect to increase.
The top three reasons for initially adopting cloud services are flexibility of delivery (74%), operational cost savings (72%) and scalability (65%), while 70% of respondents are either currently seeing or anticipate seeing their organisation have a competitive advantage from utilising cloud services.
On average it took 15 months to migrate applications to the cloud, with 90% experiencing difficulties when migrating to a cloud solution, the complexity of migration (43%) was the most commonly cited difficulty, followed by lack of internal skills/knowledge (32%) and a dependency on internet access (31%).
“Although a growing number of companies can foresee a time when they will move all of their IT to the cloud – with UK businesses steadily adopting a ‘cloud first approach’ – this change won’t happen overnight,” suggested Hilton.
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“While smaller businesses are able to make the logical step to remove their depreciated hardware assets and move entirely to the cloud, this is less feasible for larger organisations with heavy infrastructure investments. Therefore, ‘cloud everything’ will not be attainable for all for some time and we predict that the vast majority of companies will continue to maintain hybrid IT environments.”
“Looking to the future, we are certain that cloud’s momentum will continue, as cloud users move ever more parts of their estate and take on more complicated migrations. However, a barrier to this is the digital skills shortage that the UK is currently facing. This is why the Cloud Industry Forum has built and launched the Professional Membership Programme to aid the development of key digital and cloud computing skills.”