Cloud spending continues despite economic challenges

Research from the Cloud Industry Forum explores current customer attitudes and their expectations around the impact of AI

Customers look to cloud comptuing as a source of flexibility, with investments continuing even in the face of a challenging macroeconomic climate.

Research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF)’s Tough times, but innovation springs internal whitepaper has shared details of current user attitudes towards cloud and their supplier preferences.

The organisation discovered that AWS was the most popular choice for customers, followed by Azure and IBM. Customers listed that the attractions of cloud continued to be the flexibility it gave around spending and the agility to spin up and down requirements.

David Terrar, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum, said that even when things got tough economically, cloud continued to be an area for the channel and customers to focus on.

“Cloud has long been a regular feature in any modern companies’ tech stack, and this year’s research exemplifies how this remains the case as businesses across industries manage a challenging economic climate,” he said.

“With cloud services more or less ubiquitous now, attention should turn to where businesses can maximise its potential, particularly in crucial areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and ESG. Thanks to its inherent flexibility, cloud can help companies navigate these challenges with confidence.

“Economic uncertainty remains one of the few constants that businesses can reliably expect. In the coming year, organisational leaders should continue to work closely with their service providers to ensure that they’re getting the very most out of cloud,” he added.

CIF wanted to gauge the interest in AI, with the overwhelming number of customers indicating that they expect it to be an important technology in the next five years, which had more than doubled year on year. The research found that 94% of organisations were either planning to or are already using generative AI (GenAI).

“Our research indicates that AI’s rapid rise has continued over the past 12 months and shows little sign of slowing. In fact, many of those surveyed highlighted AI as one of their most important projects, outranking other key considerations like security and cloud migration. Nearly all of the respondents said that AI is a part of their plans, but two-thirds are already using it, likely representing the fastest adoption of new enterprise technology ever,” said Terrar.

“Cloud naturally has a key role to play in the further adoption of AI, offering the agility to enable businesses to experiment with AI and reap its rewards. In response, cloud service providers are already integrating AI into their offerings and leveraging its capabilities where possible,” he added.

CIF also took the temperature on attitudes towards ESG, given some concerns that in a recessionary environment the foot might have come off the pedal.

“It is encouraging to see that despite reports of ESG efforts being curtailed across industries, those surveyed still consider IT sustainability an important project for their organisation, and a large majority are well on their way towards net zero. Economic constraints are not leading to watered-down sustainability efforts, and progress towards greener initiatives continues to grow,” said Terrar.

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