It’s no grand secret that Cloud has fundamentally altered the computing landscape in such a quick space of time, that it is often difficult for the channel, and the businesses they serve to keep up.
According to Fujitsu, already 50 per cent of businesses have deployed Cloud in some form. Already corporate spending on cloud has grown from $58 billion in 2013, to an expected $72bn this year.
Fujitsu’s CTO of application services, Dr Alex Bazin, said the majority of functional units will use Cloud for some element of their business by next year. It is these individual business units that are driving Cloud adoption, led by HR, finance and marketing departments (87, 86 and 85 per cent respectively).
“Cloud is moving from being a virtualised infrastructure to more SaaS and PaaS,” he said.
Eighty per cent of departments are using their own Software-as-a-Service, purchased direct, without IT department input.
Semiconductor company Soitec is already moving 70 per cent of its computing power to the Cloud over the next three years, producing an expected 30 per cent in cost savings: a coup in a “quite conservative industry”, Bazin said.
To put the change in Cloud usage in perspective, the Harvard Business Review’s 2013 research showed that 50 per cent of CEOs feel that IT should be a commodity service, procured as needed.
This is a big change from the early days of Cloud, where it was more utilised as an infrastructure platform displacing physical hardware (the ‘build’ phase). The second phase was to outsource this ‘infrastructure’ to a third party. The third phase, which is just beginning, Bazin calls ‘curate’; that is, IT becomes the broker of a service.
In a Fujitsu survey of CIOs, when asked how many Cloud services the average organisation was running, the figure was 30+ Cloud services over the next three years, usually from perhaps 3-4 infrastructure providers.
While much of this is organisation-sanctioned, the survey also showed that 70 per cent of users were using at least one non-IT allowed product. The issue with all this Cloud then becomes tracking data, transparency and risk management.
Risk management in particular has seen Cloud evolve into a popular disaster recovery and backup mechanism, offered as a service. The new barometers of success in these industries are about datacentre placement (especially with Australia’s new data privacy laws), the speed of recovery, and identity management.
Cloud is evolving to be about very specific use cases – such as CRM – rather than the all encompassing IT bundles and product suites which defined the 1990s and early 2000s implementations. Customers are no longer loyal to single brand builds, or solution offerings. This means the bridge between legacy hardware and software to modern Cloud infrastructure has become a boom market.
We are also seeing the ‘app-ification’ of IT services, especially when working to link legacy and SaaS offerings to enable business processes. This market is expected to grow by 33 per cent by 2016.
Traditional IT will still be a factor. Gartner estimates 40 per cent of IT departments will be looking at implementing a ‘hybrid integration platform’ for the consistent management of Cloud and non-Cloud services by 2017.
Fujitsu is naturally looking to push its own Cloud services to this end, Bazin boasting that the company is looking to spend $2 billion in Cloud services over the next two years. He estimates that businesses should be able to deliver 70 per cent savings on their operational expenses.
“We want to allow business units to make ‘bring-your-own-Cloud’ a reality,” he said.
This aggregation of Cloud services will be a key part of the industry ahead, and sophisticated systems will be required to ensure provisioning and reporting are handled correctly, alongside the management and integration of existing resources.