How far can organisations go in terms of pushing applications to the cloud? The simply answer, at least according to industry research, is that there is almost no end to the potential use of on-demand IT.
Eighty per cent of companies draw some of their revenues from cloud-based applications, according to equity specialist North Bridge. That reliance on the cloud is significant but even more remarkably as many as 42 per cent of businesses suggest the cloud is now the source of a majority of their revenue.
A tipping point has been reached and the cloud is now business as normal. During the next decade, the scales will tip even further in favour of on-demand IT. The flexible nature of the cloud means it will be a prefect foundation for the huge amount of data processing required due to the Internet of Things.
The cloud will account for almost half of all spending related to enterprise hardware, software and outsourcing services by 2026, according to research from Wikibon. The direction of travel of business technology is very much in favour of the cloud. However, there are still pockets of resistance.
Ten per cent of companies still do not use the cloud, according to North Bridge, and 20 per cent of firms receive none of their profit from cloud-based applications. These laggards risk being disrupted by more nimble operators who can use the cloud to launch new services quickly and efficiently.
A slowness to embrace the cloud is not the only narrative worth considering. Even where on-demand IT has been embraced, CIOs are still reticent to move what they would refer to as the crown jewels of their organisation - such as payment systems and customer databases - to the cloud.
So while a tipping point for the cloud has been reached, there is a still a considerable weight of enterprise IT that is run on more traditional methods. The key, as ever, is for CIOs and their executive peers to think carefully about the context within which their business operates.
Some of the security and governance issues that held back cloud adoption are still a cause for concern. As CIOs draw on an ever-wider ecosystem of cloud providers, the hope would be that end user organisations and vendors work in closer harmony to find on-demand solutions to intractable business challenges.
This type of partnership thinking will have to prevail if predictions about heavy cloud use are to be proved right during the next ten years. By then, going all-in the cloud might be a given, rather than an option.
North Bridge research:
Wikibon on cloud in 2026:
Wikibon on could trends: