Cloud computing is well-known within the technology industry, but it's a bit of a blanket term due to the diverse amount of services involved. There are subcategories of cloud functionality such as Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), Platform as a Service (PAAS) and Software as a Service (SAAS). There are also different blends of cloud computing such as private, public, and hybrid.
An up-and-coming element within cloud computing is the industry cloud. It operates within a vertical space and focuses on specialized processes with tools, technologies and business services tailored to a specific industry such as healthcare, education or finance. The best part is that services are managed by experts who understand the specialized needs of a specific industry.
Tech Pro Research, the premium content sister site to ZDNet and TechRepublic, recently conducted an online survey to find out more about the use of industry cloud services.
The survey revealed that 38 percent of companies are already using industry cloud services, and 19% plan to do so within the next 12 months, making a solid majority of 57percent either using or planning to use industry cloud services. Another 23 percent of respondents said they are considering it, but they haven't set a timeline for adoption. This means that only 20 percent have completely ruled out industry cloud services.
Small companies vs. large
Small companies were as likely as large companies to be using industry cloud services, with 59 percent of small companies with fewer than 50 employees either using it or planning to use it within the next year. 58 percent of large companies with 1,000 or more employees were in the same boat.
Mid-sized companies were slightly less likely to consider industry cloud, with 54 percent of those with 20 to 249 employees saying they are using, or will be using, industry cloud, and 46 percent of those with 250 to 999 employees reporting that they are using it or plan to use it. This maybe be due to the fact that both small and large companies are willing to take on risk or try out new things, while mid-sized companies can be more conservative about change.
Reasons for using industry cloud
But why are people choosing industry cloud services? The top three answers were security and data protection, operational cost, and speed and agility. Compliance was the least-chosen factor, although nearly a third of respondents still found it valuable. This puts to rest what was once a daunting notion regarding cloud computing: that regulations would prevent or limit its feasibility.
Implementation cost was ranked an important factor by less than half of respondents, a significant majority of whom chose operational cost as more relevant. This makes sense, since implementation costs are a one-time burden whereas operational costs represent a monthly or annual outlay.
The survey also asked about budget. For those with a dedicated cloud budget, 53 percent are spending up to $100,000 on an annual basis. The 29 percent who report no budget for industry cloud services represent those who are not using them, or are possibly relying on free services (such as Dropbox).
The good news is that budgets are growing, with 43 percent of respondents reporting an increase in their industry cloud budget this year when compared to last year. Only 18 percent said their budgets were shrinking.
The future of industry cloud
The future is bright for industry cloud. As Scott Matteson wrote in Tech Pro Research's report, Industry Cloud: Adoption plans, decision factors, strategic results, "The road ahead leads to a promising and profitable era for industry cloud services as significant numbers of companies recognize the value they can provide. This is a time for great creative potential thanks to the vertical depth of the industry cloud, and the vendors who will take and retain the lead are those who establish products that are seen as must have offerings to customers due to compelling technological and business benefits."