IT Survey Spotlights Cloud Computing's Potential, Misconceptions

The survey of IT decision makers already using cloud services, details what they like, but also challenges to wider adoption.
Posted October 29, 2010

David Needle

Cloud computing is -- or should be -- on every IT decision makers radar, given the potential cost savings and prospects for a more flexible and scalable IT infrastructure.

But moving to the cloud is hardly a slam dunk for many enterprises. First there is the basic issue of the work and resources required to transition to the cloud. Also, security concerns are often cited as the main stumbling block to broader cloud adoption.

Hoping to bring more clarity to the issue, cloud solution provider Appirio has just released results from a survey of IT decision-makers that details what cloud computing adopters see as the technology's benefits as well as what many see as "misconceptions" in the broader IT community.

The survey, conducted by online market research firm Itracks, involved over 150 IT decision makers at mid- to large-sized companies in North America who have already adopted at least one leading SaaS solution or cloud-based application. The respondents all worked at companies with more than 500 employees, and 65 percent had over 1,000.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the results is that IT is seen as both the biggest advocate of cloud computing, but also the biggest driver of what were termed misconceptions. For example, a clear majority of IT decision makers (79 percent) said they expect IT to drive future cloud decisions. But 36 percent of those surveyed singled out IT leadership as the primary driver of misconceptions about the cloud.

Only 10 percent of those surveyed cited traditional IT vendors as their top choice for spreading misconceptions about the cloud and only 6 percent fingered media and analysts.

But there was also a mix of opinion as to what the biggest misconceptions are, with security, cited by 28 percent, leading the way. Integration challenges (15 percent) came in second and "lock-in," or the idea that a move to cloud limits infrastructure options, came in third at 13 percent.

Also noteworthy is that 60 percent in the survey said cloud solutions are better than traditional on-premises solutions in the areas of availability, total cost of ownership (TCO) and time-to-value. Also, at 68 percent, a large percentage said they will have the majority of their applications and platforms in the public cloud in the next three years.

While these IT personnel are generally bullish on cloud computing, they also listed several key challenges they are hoping to solve either internally or via industry and vendor solutions.

Among these, 75 percent said cloud-to-cloud integration and better integration with mobile devices are important priorities. Enhancing existing cloud applications was listed by 65 percent as a high or essential priority. And over 80 percent said cloud security and manageability are priorities.

Also, only 4 percent said they had fully integrated their cloud applications with each other.

"Companies leading the charge on cloud computing can teach the broader market a lot about what's real, what's hype and what to expect when you move more of your IT to the cloud," Appirio CEO Chris Barbin said in a statement. "Cloud computing is a highly valuable but disruptive technology, and the enterprises that will be most successful with the transition are those who can learn from the experience of others and look beyond the challenges of today."

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: cloud computing, security, IT management, IT buyer, Appirio

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