Cloud popular among UK businesses, but it's still a struggle

Adoption of cloud for key business applications is extremely widespread in the UK, but there is no uniform or consistent approach to procurement or strategy among UK companies. This is the key message from recent research conducted by Managed Cloud Services Provider, Adapt.

The research also shows that while more than half of UK businesses see cloud as a means of removing cost from their businesses, actually achieving this objective is proving challenging, creating a gap between expectation and reality. Businesses that look to cloud to support enhancement and optimisation initiatives however are finding it easier to deliver the benefits promised.

While the figures demonstrate that the case for cloud has been made, medium to large businesses have still not evaluated how to make the most effective use of cloud services strategically.

This may be because, in part, they are using different cloud providers for different purposes and because the IT department is out of the loop when it comes to the procurement process. The survey found the majority of businesses (55 per cent) were already using more than one cloud provider, with a sixth (16 per cent) using three or more. A key driver in the use of multiple cloud providers has been the bypassing of the IT department by functions such as marketing, business development and sales to identify and procure cloud services specific to their needs.

That figure is likely to be even higher given the number of unapproved cloud services being used by employees within UK businesses. The survey found that 59 per cent of businesses were aware their staff were using unapproved cloud-based services for storing data, applications and services.

With a multiplicity of cloud providers and the growing involvement of other departments in procuring cloud services, the survey reported that a majority of UK businesses (68 per cent) found the prospect of engaging a single supplier that could help them take control of all their different cloud solutions appealing.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 92 per cent of medium size and 85 per cent of large businesses report that they now use cloud services in one form or another (an average of 88.5 per cent across the sample).
  • While more than half of businesses (57 per cent) viewed cloud as a way to reduce the cost of their IT, a significant proportion (42 per cent) were finding it a challenge to meet that objective.
  • Cloud is delivering more effectively for those who approach it with broader enhancement or optimisation objectives (45 per cent expected cloud to improve business flexibility, for example, but only 22 per cent saw it as the most challenging objective).
  • The majority of businesses surveyed are aware that their staff are using unapproved cloud-based services for storing data, applications and services.