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Cloud Adoption Drives Digital Transformation in the UK

British CIOs are reaping the benefits from the take-up of cloud computing. Now, 63 percent of UK enterprises are planning to move their entire IT demand to the cloud in the near future, according to the latest market study by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

The cloud adoption rate among UK-based organizations in 2015 was 78 percent -- that's about the same as 2014, but much higher than when the CIF study was first conducted in 2011, when it stood at 53 percent.

Of those organizations that use cloud services, 77 percent use at least two services and 12 percent have deployed five or more. This represents an increase in cloud computing service penetration in UK businesses from the levels reported in 2014, suggesting that the application of cloud offerings is deepening.

"This is the sixth major body of research we have conducted into the UK end user community, and while we are continuing to analyze and report on trends and adoption rates within the UK, we also wanted to explore the issue of Digital Transformation and how cloud computing is facilitating business change," said Alex Hilton, CEO at the Cloud Industry Forum.

The CIF study findings acknowledge that creating a digital business transformation agenda will become the norm, as more CEOs apply hybrid IT strategies to stay ahead of their competition. Moreover, senior executives that plan to transform their business require a flexible and adaptive IT delivery model.

Key findings from the CIF study include:

  • Cloud adoption remains high with 78 percent of organizations using cloud services today -- this is likely to increase to 85 percent in the next two years.
  • Of those already using cloud, three quarters expect to increase their usage in 2016, 77 percent that use cloud have deployed two or more services and they store, on average, 29 percent of their data in the cloud.
  • Around 63 percent foresee a time when they will move their entire IT estate to the cloud.
  • Web-hosting (57 percent), email (56 percent), eCommerce (53 percent) and collaboration services (52 percent) are the applications most likely to be hosted in the cloud today.
  • The flexibility of the delivery model stands as the most common reason given by cloud users for their initial adoption (77 percent). This is followed by scalability (76 percent) and 24/7 service dependence (74 percent).
  • 45 percent say that enabling innovation is a business objective driving their continued investment in the cloud. Enhancing business continuity (37 percent) and improving customer service (31 percent) are the other objectives most likely to drive investment.
  • 64 percent of the survey respondents say that using the cloud saved their organization time and 86 percent report that they has experienced at least one intangible benefit of cloud.

"The IT landscape is clearly shifting as businesses become more open to receiving IT as-a-service and arrive at their natural technology refresh cycles," Hilton adds. "The proportion of organizations operating on-site servers and data centers has dropped from 85 percent in 2014 to 76 percent today."

Apparently, this transition could be attributed to more CIOs considering their infrastructure refresh cycle to be an good opportunity to adopt alternative deployment models -- such as cloud computing and hybrid IT -- which has risen to 85 percent from 71 percent a year ago.

CIF will be announcing further data on the impact of cloud in the UK market. However, Hilton believes that these findings already indicate there are significant advantages gained by pursuing both digital business transformation and cloud strategies in tandem.

The benefits of adopting a cloud-first approach are considerable and well documented. Flexible, on-demand, consumption-based cloud services and applications are enabling Line of Business (LoB) leaders to react quickly to changing market conditions -- and move on new opportunities faster than their competitors.

Note, the CIF study of cloud computing adoption in the UK was based on detailed market research conducted in the fourth quarter of 2015, following a poll of 250 senior IT and business decision-makers from both the public and private sectors.

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