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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
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