Move to cloud divides opinion between CIOs and business executives

CIOs say the main reason for moving to cloud computing is the innovation and agility it brings, but others see it as a cost-cutting exercise

CIOs and IT directors believe the main reason for moving to the cloud is that it brings innovation and agility, but more junior IT staff and senior business executives cite cost cutting as the main driver.

Despite this disconnect, Gartner expects only 17% of new software deployments to be on-premise by 2015.

Research from analyst firm Gartner found 44% of respondents, surveyed in 10 countries, said that overall cost reductions were the main reason for investing in cloud services.

Gartner said businesses are now past the small pilot phase of cloud adoption and moving mission-critical work to the cloud.

Gartner analysed the take-up of software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). The countries included in the 2014 survey were the US, Brazil, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, China, India, South Korea and Australia.

"The most commonly cited reasons the survey found for deploying SaaS were for development and testing production/mission-critical workloads," said Joanne Correia, research vice-president at Gartner. 

"We've seen a real transition from use cases in previous surveys where early SaaS adoption focused on smaller pilot projects. Today, the projects are mission-critical and production grade. This is an affirmation that more businesses are comfortable with cloud deployments beyond the front office running sales force automation (SFA) and email."

CIOs and executives divided

But there remains a disconnect between senior business executives and CIOs on cloud adoption drivers. “CIOs are focused on using the cloud to establish a modern, innovative IT environment with operational agility and business advantage as key outcomes; whereas business leaders (non-IT) still see the cloud as a means to save costs, and may not yet have full appreciation for the business benefits or strategic opportunity of using cloud service.”

Gartner said most organisations that use the cloud have hybrid models with a mix of SaaS and traditional on-premises application deployment models and a focus on integrating and migrating between different models.

Consolidation woes

The Forrester survey also revealed:

  • 66% agree they should prioritise developing a comprehensive cloud strategy for their IT infrastructure;
  • 70% want to work with a cloud implementation provider that offers a single point of accountability;
  • 66 % are either concerned or very concerned about the complexity involved in managing and governing a hybrid cloud environment;
  • 27% think present levels of self-service and transparency are sufficient;
  • 83% of the cloud adopters surveyed are struggling to consolidate their cloud services – from IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and from public and private clouds;
  • 69% think operational simplicity will drive future demand.

Security and privacy worries

Public cloud take-up is being held back by security and privacy issues as well as the fear of government snooping, said Gartner.

"Data loss, data breaches, unsecure application programming interfaces (APIs) and shared technology in a multi-tenant environment are just a few of the concerns expressed by respondents tackling the option of using public cloud," said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner. "In addition, recent concerns about government snooping in the name of anti-terrorism and general privacy issues contribute to the lack of public cloud adoption."

As a result, most datacentres are moving to private cloud deployment for implementing software, with the adoption of on-premises software expected to drop 34%, to account for just 18% of software adoption by 2017. “Legacy software will remain on-premises in the traditional model until its end of life, unless updates and upgrades allow for private cloud deployment models,” said Gartner.

According to a recent study of 300 IT and business decision-makers from Forrester research, 81% already have mission-critical applications in the cloud or are planning to put them there in the next two years.

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