In Italy, the overall estimated investment in cloud technology for 2013 is around €1.18bn, 31% more than the previous year, according to Osservatorio Cloud & ICT – a cloud data market source provided by the Politecnico of Milan.
Public cloud has grown by 40%, while investment related to on-site infrastructure has reached €60m, which is an overall growth of 28%.
NextValue, another Italian research company, claims that the revenue generated by cloud technology is €1.8bn – equal to 7% of the total IT expenditure in Italy.
These are significant figures considering that Italy has just begun to trust the technology behind cloud computing. Gone are the days when customers feared a lack of security, as an increasing amount of cloud applications begin to gain consensus among Italian consumers.
In business, the research indicated that larger organisations are more interested in becoming cloud enterprises, in comparison with smaller businesses. SMEs only represent 10% of the total investment, while larger companies account for the rest.
Splitting the revenue into the different components of cloud computing, it was found that most of the expenditure goes towards infrastructure (49%), as well as software as a service (SaaS). Platform as a service (PaaS) attracts only 10% of the investment.
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While the majority of Italian customers are keen to invest in cloud services, IT professionals would prefer to utilise the technology without transforming the entire legacy of core business applications.
Very little investment, according to the research, lies in the migration of legacy applications and workloads. Instead, the evidence suggests that most Italian organisations are not ready to take the necessary actions to move their IT crown jewels to the cloud, while some simply don't want to.
The real opportunity in the deployment of a new generation of services is adding value to the core IT. In the long run, cloud technology can be a replacement for an organisation's traditional electronic resource planning (ERP). Right now, it has to be seen as a companion for digital operations. Put differently, the cloud can be the ideal tool for the digital economy.
“We don’t see the cloud as much as a make-up of existing applications but rather as a means to leverage product and culture innovation,” says Alfredo Gatti, CEO of NextValue.
"[It is] an opportunity to change the public administration infrastructure and services. Moving from physical to digital, from paper to bytes, is a way to obtain a new level of centralisation and governance, delivering a whole lot of advantages thanks to the economy of scale, which is strictly related to the cloud business.”
Claudio Umana, CIO of Fracarro Group, an audio-video data systems company based in Castelfranco Veneto, says: “The new paradigm of IT as a service drives everyone to think in a different way. It doesn’t mean rewriting the old principles by means of a lower-cost infrastructure – that’s just a small part of the game. Cloud asks for a new way of representing IT, a way to add value from a business perspective.”
Gruppo Sielte, a systems and services integration company focused on telecommunications, is an another interesting example of Italian cloud pioneers. As Salvo Rosa, CIO of the group, says: “Five years ago we underwent a huge company restructure and we identified the cloud as a strategic resource.
"We built our new IT around the datacentre and we faced a completely new approach to IT, with a different sourcing strategy. At the very beginning it was intended to answer the usual business requirements, but we ended up funding a project to use our datacentre to deliver software as a service to distribute a NAV Dynamics solution to every partner we have on a global scale.”
Systems integrators and suppliers view the cloud as a fundamental part of their business and are aware that Italian organisations are progressively looking to the technology for innovation. Mauro Pino, general director of Digi International, a systems integration Huawei partner, says: “It’s only a matter of building a new construction site to open up to a new world of IT."
This was first published in August 2014