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Business and Industry Expertise Impact Cloud Choice

More executives will seek comprehensive vendor guidance on their digital transformation plans. According to latest market study by 451 Research, 80 percent of surveyed organizations report that their IT environments will change in order to meet forward-looking business requirements over the next five years.

That includes creating plans to migrate current enterprise workloads to cloud computing platforms, and developing expertise to ensure that cloud service spending continues on an upward trajectory.

The survey found that only 22 percent of enterprises have thus far adopted a cloud-first approach, with public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings identified as the fastest-growing deployment model.

Cloud Service Delivery Market Development

With organizations now choosing IaaS for their core business applications, qualified service provider selection is a key component of digital transformation project assessment. However, survey respondents indicate concern about some cloud service provider's ability to understand both IT and business requirements.

"As organizations implement IT transformation in earnest, they are increasingly relying on strategic partners for operational assistance. Those IaaS service providers who position infrastructure and technological innovation alongside meeting business requirements will be best positioned to capitalize on this market opportunity," said Melanie Posey, research vice president at 451 Research.

Survey respondents rated their IaaS providers on a range of attributes prior to purchase (promise) and after implementation (fulfillment). IaaS providers received consistently high ratings on both the promise and fulfillment of key service attributes. Although these are basic requirements, they're also significant factors that can adversely affect cloud service provider reputation.

However, highlighting the importance of the overall customer experience, the survey also found that organizations gave some IaaS providers lower ratings on service-delivery factors such as understanding business requirements, multi-cloud or hybrid cloud support and enterprise-level customer support.

That being said, of the respondents surveyed, 55.8 percent are currently using AWS for IaaS. But the AWS customer ratings fell behind those of other IaaS providers on 'value for money/cost' -- that's where Google Cloud Platform was rated highest.

Furthermore, when survey respondents were asked which service provider 'understands my business,' that's where IBM Bluemix (i.e. SoftLayer) and Microsoft Azure obtained higher scores than competitors.

Outlook for Multi-Cloud Service Adoption

According to the 451 Research assessment, many organizations use multiple IaaS providers. While AWS remains the primary IaaS provider (39 percent), nearly 35 percent of respondents named Microsoft their IaaS provider -- that's up from 20.2 percent in the previous survey.

Microsoft is improving customer perceptions, posting slightly above-average survey scores for 'overall promise' and 'fulfillment', as does Google Cloud Platform. In summary, 451 Research reports that Google and Microsoft are experiencing higher adoption rates since their previous survey in the first quarter of 2015.

Among the European respondents surveyed, Microsoft emerged as the primary IaaS provider, with 43.7 percent of European respondents citing it, versus 32 percent naming AWS. 451 Research analysts conclude that efforts to address European data sovereignty concerns may have contributed to service provider ranking in the region.

Besides, while many CTOs and some CIOs may focus on technology and operations capabilities of cloud providers, business and industry experience will be increasingly important as Line of Business leaders influence more procurement decisions. Also, most enterprise customers have a significant investment in on-premise systems that must be incorporated into these solutions, from a Hybrid IT perspective.

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