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Cloud Enables a Big Competitive Advantage for UK Firms

Recovery from the financial crisis in Europe continues across the whole region. Granted, there are structural reasons for the eurozone economy's slow recovery. Regardless, savvy senior executives in leading nations are actively seeks ways to grow their business. For some that means a shift to cloud computing services -- thereby lowering operational costs and boosting productivity.

As an example, forward-looking UK businesses are becoming more competitive as a direct result of their adoption of cloud services, that's according to the latest market study findings from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

Quest for a Competitive Advantage

The CIF research -- conducted in May 2014, polling 250 senior IT managers and other business decision-makers -- found that 55 percent of managers report having experienced a competitive advantage from using cloud services. A further 23 percent of surveyed managers anticipate seeing a meaningful commercial advantage from their cloud service deployments.

The research also found that the migration to cloud computing has resulted in operational business objectives being achieved by many organizations -- 66 percent achieved their objective to increase speed of access to business technology, 65 percent improved up-time or reliability of IT services, and 59 percent improved service levels of their IT applications.

"It is encouraging to see that the flexibility brought by cloud services is translating into competitive advantage for businesses -- particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are perhaps best-placed to benefit from more agile and flexible IT," said Alex Hilton, CEO at CIF.

Other findings from the market study include:

  • 47 percent of those who use cloud services, or expect to in the future, consider faster access to technology a tangible benefit, while around two fifths (41 percent) consider flexible access to technology a tangible benefit of cloud service deployment that their organization has achieved.
  • Flexibility of delivery continues to be the most commonly cited primary reason for initial cloud service adoption (17 percent). Operational cost savings come a close second (15 percent), up from a slight dip in 2013, when it was cited as the primary reason for adoption by 9 percent of cloud users.
  • This picture remains relatively consistent across organizations of all sizes, although in the public sector they show a slight preference towards cost savings, 21 percent of which cited operational cost savings as their primary reason for cloud service adoption.

Overall satisfaction rates for this business technology remain high, with 89 percent reporting satisfaction with their use of cloud services. However, 87 percent of cloud service users feel their migration could have been improved in some way, with around two fifths (38 percent) wishing it had cost less.

Many organizations did experience some difficulties in their first migration to a cloud service. Citing the need for improved professional services and technical support, 31 percent struggled with the complexity of migration, while 35 percent would have liked access to cloud management tools from their service provider.

"Although these difficulties do not seem to have impacted UK business leader enthusiasm for cloud in any significant way, improving the overall experience of cloud, from service design to service migration and management, should be an ongoing focus and priority for the industry to further enhance the benefits of cloud computing," concluded Hilton.