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Business Objectives Drive the Shift to Cloud Services

Adoption of cloud computing services continues to accelerate as organizations move from limited deployments to comprehensive solutions, according to the latest market study by CompTIA, the non-profit trade association for the information technology (IT) industry.

More than half (56 percent) of the organizations surveyed for the CompTIA study said their investment in cloud computing will increase by 10 percent or more over the next 12 months.

“This additional investment will likely be accompanied by greater complexity in the overall cloud strategy, such as moving to a hybrid cloud model or adopting more advanced services beyond Software as a Service (SaaS),” said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA. ”Organizations may begin exploring options such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), which will allow them to experiment with custom application development.”

IT departments are often a key driver behind the transition to managed cloud services, but the CompTIA study suggests individual business unit leaders within an organization are equally or perhaps more likely to now seek out the benefits of a cloud service deployment.

About one in five (21 percent) companies surveyed said that line of business leaders championed the transition to a cloud solution -- independently of their IT department.

“Most SaaS applications are easily accessible through the Internet, making it relatively easy for business employees to use them without involving the IT staff,” Robinson said. “But there are risks in this approach, as lines of business often do not have the same awareness of security and reliability as the IT department.”

Demand for Procurement and Implementation Guidance

That being said, apparently the results from the study provided no specific evidence of where CIOs or other IT managers demonstrated security breaches -- as a result of business leaders leading the shift to managed cloud services.

However, the CompTIA study findings did indicate that there's growing interest throughout these organizations to invest more in cloud computing education and thereby learn about the technology deployment considerations.

Although the mainstream business manager's understanding of cloud computing has improved over the past year, many users continue to have questions regarding details of cloud service implementation.

The 2010 CompTIA cloud computing study found that 60 percent of end users desired a clearer definition of cloud computing. In 2011, that number increased to 66 percent.

Areas where users want more clarity include the types of cloud computing offerings (Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service) and the types of deployment models (public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud services).

Attainment of Business Objectives Drives the Shift to Cloud

Organizations that have invested the time to learn about -- or are experimenting with -- cloud solutions indicate they have a higher level of comfort with cloud computing offerings. Approximately 72 percent of these organizations feel more positive about cloud computing now than they did one year ago. Another 25 percent of survey respondents report no change in their perception.

“For those who feel more positively about the cloud than they did a year ago, the primary reasons are the technical benefits and the ability to achieve other business objectives,” Robinson noted. “This finding is in line with data from other CompTIA surveys, where the primary advantage of cloud computing appears to be increased capability, not cost savings."

Note: the survey included 500 IT business professionals and other key decision makers within the U.S. market.