Cloud computing is nothing short of a phenomenon. In what seems like no time at all, businesses in all sectors have gone from making tentative steps into the cloud to a complete push for on-demand IT.
Spending on the public cloud will hit $95.6 billion in 2016, according to researcher IDC. The majority of spending (83.7 per cent) is currently dedicated to software and platform as-a-service deployments, but growth during the next five years is expected to be fastest in infrastructure areas.
Such is the strength of the move to the cloud that IDC says annual spending on the public cloud is set to more than double between now and 2020 to reach $195 billion. Gartner also recognises the next five years will represent a full-on push to the cloud, suggesting more than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to on-demand technology.
The analyst says the rate of growth will make cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces in IT spending since the early days of the digital age. Organisations that embrace the cloud now will create a strong position from which to optimise cost and increase competitiveness during the next five years.
The good news is blue chip executives are already committing to the cloud, even in sectors that might previously have shied away from on-demand IT. Take Rob Harding, CIO at European bank Capital One, whose organisation has made a commitment to have all production workloads in the cloud by 2021.
It is a significant shift, as most firms often associate a move on-demand to experimental tasks that can be scaled up or down quickly, such as testing and development. The move from Capital One shows that big firms already recognise cloud provides a platform for future business development.
Assistance comes from major suppliers who are bolstering their cloud deployments with hybrid offerings, which allow CIOs to run workloads across both in-house data centres and on-demand platforms. Executives who dabble in the cloud now can make a full shift when the time is right.
The message is clear enough: on-demand IT is already transforming the way organisations create new business models, but the really big change is still to come. CIOs who start investigating the cloud now will be best placed to help their business create a competitive advantage through digital transformation.
Gartner on cloud spending through 202:
Rob Harding at Capital One:
Developments in the hybrid cloud: