Lots of Billowing Going On 

If you were to put together a list of the top 10 technology trends over the last five years, cloud would certainly have to be one of them. Like other of today’s major IT developments, it’s evolving so fast that it can sometimes be difficult to gain the perspective you need to decide how to approach it.

In its third such report, “State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016,” Verizon does a nice job in 12 pages lending some perspective. The report shows how the cloud environment has changed, describes how this is changing the game for companies, and provides recommendations for cloud adoption.

For this report, Verizon drew upon a survey of its enterprise-level cloud customers, research it commissioned through Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, and third-party research from Forrester Consulting, Gartner, and IDC.

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A noteworthy statistic from the Verizon report is that 84 percent of companies surveyed indicate that their cloud use has increased during the past year. Perhaps more telling than that figure, however, is that half of them will be using cloud for at least 75 percent of their workloads by 2018.

No Longer Enough
Just to Be Using Cloud

What this means, though, is that, since everybody is doing cloud now, it no longer represents a significant competitive advantage all by itself. According to the report, “using cloud is now just table stakes.”

Becoming increasingly important is not simply whether you are using cloud or not, but how you are leveraging it “to enable digital transformation, change how you do business, and disrupt your market,” says the report. This realization has prompted greater and greater numbers of companies to bring their mission-critical applications to the cloud. While two years ago it was 60 percent of companies with at least one mission-critical application in the cloud, this year it is 87 percent. And close to two-thirds of that 87 percent say they have many such applications in the cloud.

It would seem that, for most companies, digital business success now relies on cloud. Here are some of the biggest reasons for moving to the cloud, as cited by respondents in the Verizon survey of its enterprise-level customers:

  • Improving responsiveness to business needs
  • Improving operations
  • Saving money
  • Keeping pace/responding to competition

Verizon acknowledges that just because cloud is no longer brand new doesn’t mean that challenges have disappeared. It wraps up its report with five recommendations for enterprises wanting to make the most of cloud’s opportunities:

  • Keep projects short: Believing that the most successful cloud migration projects are short, Verizon recommends limiting them to six months or less.
  • Don’t try to do it alone: Managed service providers can go a long way, says Verizon, in helping internal teams cope with the blistering pace of this field.
  • Improve transparency: IT departments need to be part of a thoughtful, company-wide approach.
  • Continually reassess security: Security is a challenge that requires ongoing assessment, but the report reveals that cloud has actually forced many companies to revisit their security focus and, in the process, to achieve a cloud environment that is more secure than their traditional infrastructure.
  • Don’t forget the network: The importance of connectivity only grows as those mission-critical applications get brought to cloud. Quoting Gartner, the report adds, “Through 2015, at least 50 percent of cloud deployments will suffer from business-impacting performance issues, requiring extensive network redesign to address them.”

Read the full report, because it’s got further juicy data and concepts contained therein. And let us know in the comments below, what’s the state of cloud at your company? Are there any cloud recommendations that you add to those in the Verizon report?

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Gary Pfitzer is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, focused on bringing various aspects of today's IT journey to light through business papers, blogging, customer success stories, and other writing.