Clouds Take Shape

By SamuelGreengard

Despiteall the hype and hyperbole, it’s clear that cloud computing is here to stay. Arecent Tata Consultancy Services study of more than 600 firms worldwide foundthat U.S. organizations now have 19 percent of their applications in the cloud,and that number is expected to swell to 34 percent by 2014.

Yet,as remarkable as this might sound, the United States actually trails much ofthe world in cloud adoption. Tata found that cloud apps are likely to make up54 percent of the total in Latin America and 52 percent in Asia-Pacific by2014. Europe trailed far behind at 12 percent.

"Wehave reached the inflection point in cloud computing, and there is no turningback,? notes Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO and managing director of TataConsultancy Services. ?Cloud-based applications are already a substantial pieceof large corporate IT infrastructure, and the early benefits achieved are toosubstantial to ignore.?

Oneof the biggest roadblocks to adoption, Tata found, is fear over security risks.Only 20 percent of U.S. and European companies would consider putting theirmost critical applications in the cloud. Private clouds, on the other hand,appeal to 66 percent of U.S. companies and 48 percent of European firms.

Atpresent, customer-facing applications and business processes are the majordrivers for cloud adoption. The study reveals that marketing, sales andservices capture at least two-fifths of corporate IT cloud budgets across thefour regions.

Costcutting was not cited as the primary reason for adopting clouds. While savingmoney is important, respondents indicated that the need to streamline and speedup business processes was the main driver.

Standardizationalso ranked high on the list of reasons to use the cloud. Finally,organizations in Europe and Latin America cited agility and flexibility asimportant factors. The ability to provision and de-provision services quicklywas attractive.

SaysChandrasekaran: "Most companies have remained somewhat conservative aboutwhat systems and data they put in public clouds. The next few years will beones in which market leaders quickly capitalize on the cloud."