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Public cloud is going main-stream – But what’s driving growth?

(Image credit: Image Credit: TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock)

According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud service market is set to experience an 18 per cent growth (opens in new tab) this year alone. This may seem like a big jump at first glance, but it’s certainly not something that should come as a surprise.

In recent years, the concept of cloud has moved into the mainstream as businesses increasingly find success with the applications and services delivered this way. From creating scalable systems in a matter of weeks to reinventing entire business models, its value for business performance is becoming ever more visible.

Whereas traditionally much more focus has been on the potential of private cloud, driven by multinational IT companies, public cloud has been maturing rapidly. What are the key reasons for this significant rise of the global public cloud services market?

It’s all about the cloud knowledge

Once upon a time the term ‘cloud’ was reserved for those either working in the IT industry or those taking an interest in emerging technologies. Fast forward to now, and organisations have a much better understanding of public cloud and its benefits. This is due to a combination of more available resources and a higher visibility of successful public cloud adoption around certain verticals.

The resulting awareness of the many commercial and technological benefits – ranging from enhanced security to the ability to ramp up services based on seasonal requirements – is what’s prompting the rise in investment in cloud infrastructure Gartner describes. 

The other major component at play here is a growing appetite for innovation. With digital transformation becoming a driving force, businesses are more open and willing to venture out of their comfort zone. There can be no doubt that investigating the potential of public cloud to define new commercial models, that offer better customer experiences has moved up on the corporate agenda. 

Of course there are plenty of organisations that are still figuring out how a cloud model can fit into their overall strategy, as it takes a lot of work to ensure digital initiatives are aligned or weaved in with business objectives. However, we expect most companies will get there and adopt public cloud services.

Public cloud growth areas to watch

As Gartner suggests, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is undoubtedly one of the biggest growth areas within the public cloud. This trend emerged out of the budget reductions some businesses have had to apply in the last years. Of course, there’s also the incentive for organisations to have better control over IT expenditure and the ability to do more with less.  

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are definitely experiencing momentum and will continue to do so, primarily due to their flexibility. However, economies of scale certainly come into play here as well as these kind of applications can align to peaks in usage. 

One of the most popular public cloud solutions on the market is Microsoft Azure. Azure is a collection of cloud services that accelerate application innovation and deliver solutions that range from virtual machines, to storage, back-up and analytics. Secondly, it has strong security credentials that protect business data. Thirdly, it enables organisations to speed up decision processes by including intelligence into any app that can predict user behaviours and subsequently recommend actions for their business.

Why should you go public cloud?

Numerous benefits exist for the public cloud that vary depending on how the objectives of a cloud strategy are aligned to the business goals. Some of the most significant are around cost, as public cloud enables organisations to reduce their capital expenditure and move to an OpEx model. Public cloud services are well-established these days, so offer robust technology whilst constantly developing additional capabilities to support new IT models.

Despite the numerous benefits, public cloud isn’t for everyone. Key for organisations is to look into what applications they already have in place, what impact these have on the business and what the advantages would be for forming these into a public cloud service. 

Equally, there’s no one-size fits all formula when it comes to choosing your cloud services. Logically, a hybrid cloud approach is of course more flexible as it allows apps to be moved back and forth, permitting workloads to be run where they perform at their best.  However, the best deployment always hinges on your business objectives. Cloud adoption should be a unique and tailored process where the final outcome is a solution that tightly aligns business vision with IT strategy.

Taking the big picture into account

A lot of the current debate on cloud computing centres on what’s required from the infrastructure elements, such as servers and storage. However, the really interesting part is the opportunity that is arising from the way in which businesses can leverage external services to rethink the whole business model of their organisation. Cloud provides a platform for businesses to efficiently capture and deliver their business specialisations to others, leading to a new focus on business ecosystems and integration in place of large multi-purpose organisations.  

There is currently a great deal of talk about the shift to digital business models and cloud is a key enabler to this transformational convergence of business and technology. Essentially, cloud answers the increasingly urgent need to quickly build and scale new and highly connected systems which are also reliable from day one; a task which would be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to achieve with traditional approaches.

Alex Guillen, Go-to-Market Manager, Insight (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock

Alex Guillen, Go-to-Market Manager at Insight.