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June 09, 2011

Global Survey Reveals Explosion of Public Cloud Computing Services and Highlights Risk of Cloud Sprawl

By Calvin Azuri, TMCnet Contributor

Avanade, a business technology services provider, recently released the results of a global survey which clearly reveals the rapid growth in the use of public cloud services. Now that cloud services are becoming more mainstream, it is causing growing pains for many companies. One in five executives surveyed admitted that it is close to impossible to manage the disparate cloud services within their organization. Close to 60 percent surveyed said that they are concerned about cloud sprawl which is the unmanaged adoption of public cloud services within an organization.


However, despite these challenges the survey also showed that cloud computing is maturing in the enterprise as CIOs are on looking at ways to leverage cloud services to achieve business benefits like improved flexibility, reduced costs and helping to speed time to market.


In a release, Tyson Hartman, global chief technology officer at Avanade, said, "As is true with many forms of technology innovation, consumer technology often has a way of secretly creeping into the enterprise. Today, public cloud services are in a similar situation. The barrier to entry for many cloud capabilities continues to lower and our research shows some are so easy to adopt, they are outpacing the ability of IT leaders to manage them effectively."


One in five respondents admitted they have personally purchased a cloud service without the IT department's knowledge. Close to 60 percent of companies report they have policies in place that to prevent such actions, yet respondents say there are no real deterrents to prevent them from purchasing cloud services on the side.


"While policy is a place to start, managing cloud sprawl requires a real cooperation and dialogue between CIOs and their business counterparts,” Hartman added. “It's important that companies define a user-centric cloud strategy. With that strategy in hand, it's much easier to have an open dialogue in discovering what cloud services are already being used, where the gaps are and what new technologies the company should leverage to drive business value."


The survey also revealed three signs that showed cloud computing is maturing. Companies are now increasing investments to secure, manage and support cloud, there is a growing adoption and preference for private cloud and execs are starting to see cloud as a way to generate revenue.


Larry Beck, senior director, cloud strategy at Avanade said, "Any decision to begin using cloud computing requires forethought, planning and preparation. Companies must identify their business objectives, determine which applications are prime targets for moving to the cloud, prove the business case and ensure the technology fits. The journey to cloud is an evolution that will occur over time. IT professionals should start with a clear plan, sound analysis, proven methodologies and practices, and a strong line of communication to the user community and corporate executives."


Conducted by Kelton Research, the "Has Cloud Computing Matured?" survey, conducted between March and April, surveyed 573 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 18 countries spread across North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific.


Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend the Cloud Communications Summit, collocated with TMC’s (News - Alert) ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. The Cloud Communications Summit will address a growing need of businesses to integrate and leverage cloud based communications applications, process enhancement techniques, and network based communications interfaces and architectures. To register, click here.

Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by John Lahtinen