A March 2013 survey of 625 technical professionals across a broad section of organisations on their adoption of cloud computing has highlighted the importance of what it calls ‘cloud maturity’.
That’s a measure of the experience organisations have with cloud computing, and the greater it is the more benefits they are able to derive from it and the better they are able to handle challenges of security compliance and governance.
The survey was undertaken by RightScale, a provider of cloud management technology. It concludes: “bottom line: as organisations move forward with cloud adoption and gain experience with cloud technologies, they’re able to unlock increasingly greater levels of value for their organisations.”
The survey found that cloud technology is no longer on the bleeding edge, with three quarters of enterprise respondents saying they are adopting cloud. However, many are still at the experimentation stage and only 17 percent reported heavy usage. The figure was very different for small businesses: 41 percent of them said they were heavy cloud users and only nine percent said they are experimenting.
According to the survey report this is in line with the behaviour of large organisations that have to deal with greater organisation scale and complexity and thus tend to take longer to fully consume new technologies.
One measure of cloud maturity given in the survey is the type of workloads that organisations deploy in the cloud. It says that, as organisations become more cloud mature, workloads get broader. “Development, test and customer facing applications continue to be the top workloads deployed by companies across the maturity spectrum. More than 50 percent of organisations that are cloud focused are also running internal web applications, batch processing and mobile applications in the cloud.”
The report identifies three levels of cloud maturity: cloud beginners, cloud explorers and cloud focussed and it claims that this increasing maturity is matched by growth in benefits organisations get from cloud. “Organisations indicate that the top benefits they have already realised are faster access to infrastructure, greater scalability and faster time to market for applications. The top three benefits are reported by more than 25 percent of cloud beginners, more than 50 percent of cloud explorers and more than 80 percent of cloud focused organisations.”
Jorge Villalpando of leading Australian provider of cloud-managed services BitCloud noted, “Across our business, we have experienced continued uptake of cloud computing across all levels of knowledge and expertise. In particular, one trend is quite clear: regardless of whether a buyer is a beginner or not, most IT decision makers are in control of their budgets and they know what they want – flexibility, scalability and the ability to claim back their time by choosing a managed service.”
As organisations move towards more experience with the cloud more than 50 percent report benefits such as business continuity and increase application availability, better application performance expanded geographic reach and increased IT staff efficiency. “These findings show that cloud benefits are not only a future expectation but also a reality today for many organisations,” the report says.
The corollary of this is that mature organisations report fewer challenges around security, governance, compliance and integration. “The percentage of organisations that report security as a significant challenge decreases from 38 percent of beginners to 18 percent of the cloud focused. In other words, the more that organisations learn about how to work in the cloud the more they understand how to address cloud associated challenges and the easier cloud becomes.”
Another measure of maturity is the level of adoption of DevOps, defined as “a software development philosophy and practice that involves collaboration between operations teams and developers to increase agility and deliver applications to market more quickly.”
The survey found that five percent of respondents had adopted DevOps with a roughly even split between those adopting at an individual or team level and those adopting at a business unit or company wide level. It found that 75 percent of cloud-focused companies were leveraging DevOps compared to only 41 percent of cloud watchers.
The survey concludes: “One of the most important takeaways is that more cloud adoption unlocks more cloud value. As cloud usage increases within organisations they report more benefits and fewer challenges. Each organisation’s journey to realise the full value of cloud will take many steps and will evolve over months and years. However cloud adoption will deliver increasingly more value each step along the way.”