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Archive for July, 2011

Gartner Releases Their Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2011

Calling the hype around cloud computing “deafening”, Gartner released their annual hype cycle for the 34 different technologies in a 75 page analysis today.  You can find the Hype Cycle at the end of this post and I’ve provided several of the take-aways below:

  • The industry is just beyond the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and headed for the Trough of Disillusionment. The further up the Technology Trigger and Peak of Inflated Expectations curve, the greater the chaotic nature of how technologies are being positioned with widespread confusion throughout markets. The team of analysts who wrote this at Gartner share that conclusion across the many segments of the Hype Cycle.
  • Gartner states that nearly every vendor who briefs them has a cloud computing strategy yet few have shown how their strategies are cloud-centric. Cloudwashing on the part of vendors across all 34 technology areas is accelerating the entire industry into the trough of disillusionment. The report cites the Amazon Web Services outage in April, 2011 as a turning point on the hype cycle for example.
  • Gartner predicts that the most transformational technologies included in the Hype Cycle will be the following: virtualization within two years; Big Data, Cloud Advertising, Cloud Computing, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Public Cloud computing between two and five years; and Community Cloud, DevOps, Hybrid Cloud Computing and Real-time Infrastructure in five to ten years.
  • There continues to be much confusion with clients relative to hybrid computing.  Gartner’s definition is as follows ”Hybrid cloud computing refers to the combination of external public cloud computing services and internal resources (either a private cloud or traditional infrastructure, operations and applications) in a coordinated fashion to assemble a particular solution”. They provide examples of joint security and management, workload/service placement and runtime optimization, and others to further illustrate the complex nature of hybrid computing.
  • Big Data is also an area of heavy client inquiry activity that Gartner interprets as massive hype in the market. They are predicting that Big Data will reach the apex of the Peak of Inflated Expectations by 2012.  Due to the massive amount of hype surrounding this technology, they predict it will be in the Trough of Disillusionment eventually, as enterprises struggle to get the results they expect.
  • By 2015, those companies who have adopted Big Data and extreme information management (their term for this area) will begin to outperform their unprepared competitors by 20% in every available financial metric. Early use cases of Big Data are delivering measurable results and strong ROI.  The Hype Cycle did not provide any ROI figures however, which would have been interesting to see.
  • PaaS is one of the most highly hyped terms Gartner encounters on client calls, one of the most misunderstood as well, leading to a chaotic market. Gartner does not expect comprehensive PaaS offerings to be part of the mainstream market until 2015.  The point is made that there is much confusion in the market over just what PaaS is and its role in the infrastructure stack.
  • SaaS performs best for relatively simple tasks in IT-constrained organizations. Gartner warns that the initial two years may be low cost for any SaaS-based application, yet could over time be even more expensive than on-premise software.
  • Gartner estimates there are at least 3M Sales Force Automation SaaS users globally today.

Bottom line: The greater the hype, the more the analyst inquiries, and the faster a given technology ascends to the Peak of Inflated Expectations. After reading this analysis it becomes clear that vendors who strive to be accurate, precise, real and relevant are winning deals right now and transcending the hype cycle to close sales.  They may not being getting a lot of attention, but they are selling more because enterprises clearly understand their value.

Source: Gartner, Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2011 David Mitchell Smith Publication Date: 27 July 2011 ID Number: G00214915 © 2011

Predicting Cloud Computing Adoption Rates

From conservative, single digit adoption rates to hockey-stick projections of exceptional growth, analyst firms, venture capitalists and government ministries are weighing in on how they see cloud adoption progressing.

While each of the adoption rate predictions vary significantly in terms of their methodologies and results, all rely on the assumption that SaaS applications including CRM will continue to gain momentum.  The user adoption rates vary on how fast the momentum is, yet all share this assumption.  Speed, increased user adoption rates, and the ability to more closely align software to business goals are cited most often as the biggest benefits.

Where the projections vary most is whether enterprises will eventually migrate the majority of their applications to the cloud or not.  Forrester, Gartner and others see a hybrid cloud architecture emerging in the enterprise and forcing the issue of legacy systems migration by 2015.  As would be expected, vendor-driven research sees an “all or nothing” world in the near future.

Sanity Check

Wanting to see how reliable the figures were showing rapid cloud adoption in the enterprise, I did a quick sanity check.  Taking the  distribution of sales by segment for Salesforce.com and their annual revenue growth rate, then normalizing it across all segments, enterprise emerges as their strongest segment by a wide margin in 2015.  It had a 15%+ compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011 – 2015 just taking their current sales by segment distribution of sales and extrapolating forward.  Data points like this and the market factors behind them is why SaaS is often used in these studies as a leading indicator of broader cloud adoption.

Adoption Rate Round-Up

  • Forrester found that SaaS will outgrow all other cloud services, achieving 37% adoption in 2011 growing to 50% by 2012.  In previous studies Forrester has shown that SaaS is a major growth catalyst of ongoing investment in IaaS and PaaS in enterprises. Source: Source:  Forrsights: The Software Market In Transformation, 2011 And Beyond Shifting Buying Preferences Lead To New Software Priorities by Holger Kisker, Ph.D. with Pascal Matzke, Stefan Ried, Ph.D., Miroslaw Lisserman  Link: http://bit.ly/ijJy70  The following table is from the report:

  • Microsoft Global SMB Cloud Adoption Study released in March, 2011 is one of the most comprehensive done this year on this topic. Of the many findings, the study predicts  39 % of SMBs expect to be paying for one or more cloud services within three years).  One of the best studies on cloud adoptions done this year Source: Study Results Document (PDF (22 pages): http://bit.ly/gN8yTx

  • North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM PRO and over a dozen research partners completed the study The Future of Cloud Computing 2011.  The study found 13% expressed high level of confidence in cloud computing for enterprise applications, with 40% experimenting and 10% saying they will never use cloud-based platforms as they are too risky. A presentation of the results can be found here:

Source: http://futureofcloudcomputing.drupalgardens.com/2011-future-cloud-computing-survey-results

  • Springboard Research (Forrester) completed a study of cloud computing adoption in Asia finding 31% of companies with 50 or fewer PCs will adopt cloud-based applications in 18 months, 56% with up to 500 PCs.  The key findings are available for download from the source URL below the infographic.

                                     Microsoft Asia is making this available for download here: http://bit.ly/jWjOj1

  • TechTarget published their analysis of virtualization and cloud computing adoption in the study, State of virtualization and cloud computing: 2011.  Of the many findings, a few of the most significant is how pervasive VMware ESXi 4 and later (vSphere) is throughout enterprises today.  The study also shows that 7% of those interviewed had implemented cloud computing in 2010, growing to 9% in 2011 – quite conservative compared to many of the other adoption rate analyses completed.  You can find the results here: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/feature/State-of-virtualization-and-cloud-computing-2011
  • Yankee Group has found that in 2011, 41 percent of very large enterprises (more than 10,000 employees) have already deployed or are considering deployment of platform as a service (PaaS) within the next 12 months, compared to just 32 percent in 2010.  They have also found that mobility is most significant factor driving cloud adoption in the enterprise. Source: http://professional.wsj.com/article/TPCHWKNW0020110722e77q0004d.html

Rethinking Cloud ROI from a Customer’s Perspective

Seeing the proliferation of cloud ROI, TCO and cost calculators brings to mind my economics professors who strove with a passion to reduce complex consumer decisions into simple, very powerful formulas.  Like these calculators pervading the market, my economics professors showed a passion for accuracy, precision and measured perfection.

The only trouble is that people, companies and markets defy and will deliberately not conform to an equation, cause-and-effect strategy or series of artificial incentives to get them to change.  If there is one single, loudly reverberating fact in this economy, it is that marketing and selling strategies based on economic theory alone are failing.  The business benefits of cloud computing need to be more integrated into these ROI and TCO calculators to make them relevant.  They need to reflect more of the customers’ needs to be useful.

It’s Time To Bring The Customer and Their Strategies Into The Equation

Of the many white papers, e-books and websites all claiming to translate cloud computing server usage and capacity planning metrics into business benefits, the Open Groups’ white paper published in 2010 delivers useful insights.  The research and analysis was produced by Cloud Business Artifacts (CBA) project of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group.  You can find the entire document here.

The following table is from the section on building ROI for Cloud Computing using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics.  While this table is a start, what’s  missing  are more metrics related to the Web customer experience.  There needs to be more measures of whether customer experiences were successful or not by application, and if and how SaaS-based applications contributed to customers’ expectations being exceeded or not.

One of the biggest benefits all ROI and TCO calculators attempt to quantify is speed of cost reduction and time reduction, but what about speed of strategy execution? For many of these online tools, prospects using them would have no idea how their investment will accelerate their goals.  All they see are costs related to the technology.  Not much if any analysis is provided how the technology relates to their strategies being attained more quickly, completely and profitably.

And what about enabling channels to sell more effectively?  Launching products on time, synchronized across online and offline channels and having consistency of messaging, pricing, services – in short the entire user experience– is rarely if ever mentioned.  Ironically the greater the focus on ROI and TCO calculators, the greater the lack of focus on creating a truly exceptional customer experience while attaining complex selling strategies.

It’s time for the industry’s vendors to wake up and realize that they are selling for the most part to nonconformists not robots.  ROI and TCO calculators that don’t reflect what customers really want to accomplish and stay centered on technology alone are missing huge opportunities to sell on value.

Bottom line: The comfort that comes from attempting to take the chaos of a market and crystalize it into an equation is an illusion – the real test of a vendor’s value is being able to navigate customers to their goals using technology when necessary, not as a crutch.

Cloud ROI and TCO Calculators

Amazon Web Services Economics Center  http://aws.amazon.com/economics/

Amazon Web Services Simple Monthly Calculator http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html

Astadia Cloud Computing ROI Calculator http://www.astadia.com/products-and-services/IT-cloud-transformation/roi/

Azure ROI Calculator (written in Silverlight)  http://azureroi.cloudapp.net/

Commentary: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/windowsazure/thread/c4155f48-d51f-4c14-b79c-3f8248ac9646

Azure TCO calculator http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/offers/

Cloud Business Review – Cloud Migration ROI Calculatohttp://www.cloudbusinessreview.com/cloud-migration-roi-calculator.html

EMC ROI Analyst (requires opt-inhttps://roianalyst.alinean.com/emc/Welcome.do

GetApp Cloud Computing Calculator http://www.getapp.com/cloud-computing-roi-calculator

Google Cloud Calculator http://www.gonegoogle.com/#/company-name

Rackspace Load Balancer Calculator http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/cloud_hosting_products/loadbalancers/pricing/

Salesforce.com Force.com Business Case Calculator (ROI) http://www.salesforce.com/platform/tco/calculator.jsp?d=70130000000EfON&internal=true

Stelligent ROI Calculator http://stelligent-roi.appspot.com/

VMWare ThinApp Calculator http://roitco.vmware.com/ThinApp/

Sources:

Open Group Publishes Guidelines on Cloud Computing ROI http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/1376952

Private cloud discredited, part 1 http://www.zdnet.com/blog/saas/private-cloud-discredited-part-1/1204?tag=mantle_skin;content

Deciding Which Applications Belong on SaaS

The debate is getting louder by the week about which applications should move to SaaS versus be kept on-premise.  Wanting to it both ways, more and more companies are offering both SaaS and on-premise versions.

A recent report from Forrester, What CEOs Of Small Software Companies Need To Do In 2011 How To Find The Best Opportunities In A High-Growth Market, underscores the debates at enterprise software companies facing this dilemma.

A graphic from the report is shown below and served as the catalyst of the points show here:

  • Decide if your company can afford the revenue and potential profit hit of switching business models.  Vendors selling licensed on-premise systems often have annual maintenance revenue streams that contribute 60% or more of their annual revenues.  This revenue stream  gives companies a cushion to wait out long sales cycles and spend years developing new products.  Enterprise vendors in this position need to set aggressive goals for new sales, development and cultivate a culture of accountability so complacency doesn’t take hold.  With more than 50% of revenues gained often in the first year of the license, this model is very challenging to migrate off of in favor of SaaS.  Conversely, SaaS-based licenses have been known to generate only 20% of contract value the first year.  That’s why many investors tell SaaS start-ups and companies making the transition to get customers to pay multiple years ahead if at all possible.
  • SaaS is ideally suited for highly collaborative, distributed applications that need to match how your customers work.  CRM, Social CRM and its many related segments of the software market, along with enterprise collaboration, knowledge management and communication all fit here.  Reducing churn through greater loyalty to CRM and related applications, in addition to creating vertical market extensions have proven to be great strategies.   SaaS-based ERP, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Warehouse Management and other enterprise applications are gaining traction because the companies offering them are doing the hard work of simplifying very complex processes before moving the to SaaS.

  • Upgrade paths for both licensed and SaaS applications can force your company into being all things to all people.  Customers of  SaaS applications are going to expect incremental updates every three months or more at the least, while licensed customers are content with interim releases every six months and a major release every three to four years.

Bottom line: Migrating to SaaS from licensed applications often leads to sales and profits dropping for two to three years due to the change in maintenance and renewal revenue streams.  Being smart about which applications get moved when and not deviating from the plan can mean the difference between being profitable or not.

Source:   What CEOs Of Small Software Companies Need To Do In 2011 How To Find The Best Opportunities In A High-Growth Market by Andrew Bartels with Christopher Mines, Peter Burris, Sarah Musto. July 7, 2011

Sizing the Public Cloud Services Market

Gartner’s latest forecast of the public cloud services market predicts that by 2015, this worldwide market will be worth $176.8 billion, achieving a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9%.

Their latest forecast is based on defining the public cloud services market from revenue generation, not an IT spending perspective.  This is in contrast to the public cloud services forecast IDC also released this week, stating that public IT cloud services spending would reach $72.9B by 2015.  Of the two approaches, the one that is revenue-based delivers a more granular, detailed look at Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) challenges and opportunities for growth (see tables below for details).  The Gartner report, Public Cloud Services, Worldwide and Regions, Industry Sectors, 2010-2015, 2011 Update, was published on June 29, 2011.

Gartner’s decision to base their methodology on revenue generated versus pure IT spending opens up the potential to evaluate entirely new business models based on services growth.  The forecast is based on revenue either directly or indirectly generated from the sales of services and from sales to enterprise or consumers.  Business process services are defined in this forecast as any process that can be delivered as a service over a scalable, elastic and secure connection over the web.  This includes advertising, payroll, printing, e-c0mmerce, in addition to applying applications and systems infrastructure. Presented below are key take-aways and analysis from the reports.

Key Take-Aways

  • By 2015, the total market will be worth $176.8 billion, which represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2010 of 18.9%. The largest part of this is revenue derived from advertising that is used to provide IT services ($77.1 billion in 2015), which represents an addition to the total size of the IT market.
  • The transition of software from licensed to service models continues, but it has yet to reach breakthrough proportions (9.6% in 2010, rising to 13.8% in 2015). Traditional outsourcing services also continue to transition to cloud delivery models, involving a high degree of service standardization. Gartner continues to take a conservative view of revenue recognition in terms of SaaS adoption compared to other research firms as is shown in the following table.

  • Application and systems infrastructure are projected to grow the fastest in terms of revenue generation through 2015, with advertising-related revenue being a significant proportion of the total public cloud services market through the forecast period.  The following table breaks out public cloud revenue globally by business process services, applications, application infrastructure and systems infrastructure.
  • The high-tech, manufacturing and financial services sectors and the public sector will continue to be the most-aggressive adopters of cloud services through 2015.  Presented below is a table comparing cloud services revenue by industry sector.
  • The North American market continues to be, by far, the largest regional market representing 60% of the global market currently, but growth in China remains of interesting potential.
  • Financial services organizations in aggregate represent the largest users of public cloud services.
  • Some smaller countries will demonstrate very high growth (more than 25%) in e-commerce cloud services, because of high growth in underlying retail e-commerce. The Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 accounted for 4.3% of total U.S. retail sales.

Bottom line: Taking a revenue-based approach to defining cloud services shows how critical the application and system infrastructure is to overall market growth.  Gartner predicts the fastest growing revenue generating segment of public clouds will be storage services (89.5%) followed by Compute Services (47.8%) and supply management (39.5%).

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