Path to Value in the Cloud program guide

CVP cover

As the Path to Value program wraps up, we’ve put together a full list of the research findings, papers, and graphics.

The overriding theme of this work is that companies need to plan for every phase of cloud migration if they are to realize the full benefits of this new approach to information technology. We hope the data, action items, and real-world experiences documented here will help businesses make the transition as smoothly—and profitably—as possible.

  1. The Path to Value landing page, which includes all of the materials produced during the project.
  2. Briefing paper, an overview of the survey results
  3. Think piece: Building the Strategic Cloud
  4. Infographic: Cloud Drives Business Strategy
  5. Think piece: Where the Value Lies
  6. Infographic: Cloud Drives Business Value
  7. Think Piece: Security and Service
  8. Infographic: Cloud Security and Service
  9. Think piece: Trailblazers on the Path to Value
  10. Infographic: Trailblazers on the Path to Value
  11. Interactive infographic: The Path to Value in the Cloud

Infographic shows cloud’s business value

A companion to our cloud strategy think piece, this infographic shows the ways companies are using the cloud to create business value, and how they are quantifying that success. Our research shows that cloud is increasingly critical to innovation and expansion strategy, but metrics measuring those results may be in short supply. Click below to see the full infographic. 

WindstreamStrategyInfographic

Cloud strategy varies by industry

Cloud migration brings benefits across the value chain, but different industries see things differently. As you can see in the chart of the total respondent pool below, almost a third of respondents say new geographical markets or lines of business are driving growth.

Q12. Which strategic initiative is most important to driving growth at your firm? Select one.WindstreamQ12

 The story is different for retail, where 29% of respondents say operational efficiency is driving strategic growth. Healthcare, on the other hand, is significantly more driven by new geographical markets (44%). Professional services lies on the other end of the spectrum—only 20% said that new geographies were driving growth.

While financial services also value these growth drivers, a healthy 26% say that new product and service development within existing lines of business are driving growth. Government/education organizations are the least likely industry to have strategic growth driven by new product and service development—only 16% of respondents said that was so.

Sales and service slowest to the cloud

While most of our respondents expect to have email systems in the cloud in two years, CRM, customer service, and online cataloging will experience a much slower adoption rate. As you can see in the chart below, less than half of companies expect to have those functions in the cloud in two years. (Click to enlarge)WindstreamQ18.4In keeping with previous findings, firms with profit margins above 10% will be much more likely to have CRM in the cloud in two years—65%, compared to 39% of companies with negative or flat profit margins. These high-profit companies are also ahead in customer service and online catalog and retail.

But it’s not just larger and more profitable companies that are more advanced in their cloud migrations. We identified a group of 48 companies who are far ahead of their peers in their path to cloud value. Next week, we will explore who these leaders are, and how they’re ahead in their cloud migration

Cloud survey results

This week, we will be bringing you  some top-level results of our Path to Value survey. Oxford Economics surveyed 350 business and technology executives in April 2014 to determine how companies are moving to the cloud. Respondents came from all 50 US states, with a fairly even distribution across regions, as you can see in the map below.

WindstreamMap

Stay tuned all week for more results from our groundbreaking survey.

Cloud drives IT growth

Data is nothing unless you refine it. I speak with tons of clients, and every CIO I talk to will tell you that data is going to be the basis of their competitive advantage.

Cloud migration is boosting IT budgets. In a recent survey of data center trends, almost half of respondents say they expect their budgets to increase by 5-10 percent over the next year. Additionally, Cisco predicts that global data center traffic will triple by 2017. This growth is spurred in part by the rise of big data, which more and more companies see as a strategic asset.

As  IT strategies shift from saving to innovation, budgets are increasing as well; worldwide, public cloud services spending will more than double by 2017, to $108 billion, from 2013’s $47.4 billion. Three main areas are expected to drive data center growth going forward: virtualization, big data, and data center consolidation. 

Cloud News Roundup

CRM is continuing its march to the cloud. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2015, 50% of CRM tools will be hosted in the cloud. By 2025, that number will be 85%. The reasons for move to cloud-based CRM are twofold: flexibility and cost effectiveness.

There’s a lot of talk about the state of the cloud and where it’s going. But do we know where it came from? An article in Wired tries to get to the bottom of this question, digging up a 1994 video from AT&T as evidence that company invented the cloud in the early 90s.

Approaching a cloud services provider can be daunting. This list may help you have a productive conversation with a potential provider. Important questions to ask: what do you want to do with the cloud?; how much do you want to manage?; and what are you best at?  

The cloud you don’t see

“Listen to your users, give them what they need…. A ‘don’t use the cloud’ memo isn’t going to cut it.”

Security is top of mind for most organizations looking to migrate to the cloud, but there’s another threat vector to consider: cloud creep. Even a company with sufficient security protocols in place for its formal cloud services may face exposure from services like Facebook, Dropbox, and Pandora entail.

“Just because you have a positive position on IaaS doesn’t mean you have a sufficient risk posture around off-the-shelf services,” Jason Ha, national manager of security practices for Dimension Data, said.

On average, Ha finds in security audits that companies have six times the cloud exposure they thought they did.

But there’s not an easy solution. Simply blocking access to social media sites may temporarily fix the problem, but it might block legitimate sites, and employees can find workarounds. And there’s no escaping the cloud: even if a company has a “no-cloud” policy in place, the spate of recent data breaches shows the pitfalls of that approach.

So what is a company to do? The first step is to have a cloud policy in place, followed by an effort to deploy approved, monitored applications. It’s not an easy fix, but the key is to stay ahead of the curve and to give your staff options that are within your control.

Cloud news roundup

Dawn Leaf, Deputy CIO at the Labor Department, spoke about her agency’s  recent migration of email and human resource applications to the cloud at the FOSE government technology conference. Leaf said one of the most important aspects of any migration is oversight. “Delegation—and that’s what you’re doing; you’re delegating your authority of your IT services—is not the same as abdication,” she said.

Cloud is emerging as one of tech’s top moneymakers. A recent KPMG survey revealed that 46 percent of technology executives said their cloud revenues in 2013 were above expectations. Meanwhile, D&A (data and analytics) and the Internet of Things are rising fast as top drivers of growth. 

As cloud investment heats up, providers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves. The big players are reducing prices; Google plans on lowering cloud service prices by 30 to 85 percent, an announcement that was quickly followed by Amazon and Microsoft announcing plans to slash their prices as well. Other companies are focusing on niche markets, tailoring their services for different industries, or focusing on private clouds. 

Cloud adoption lags down under

Mid-size firms in Australia are falling behind the rest of the world in cloud adoption, says Intel’s managing director in that country, Kate Burleigh. Speaking at a “Momentum for the Mid Market” event, Burleigh said that although smaller companies—those with revenues between $10 million and $250 million—are consuming a lot of technology, they are failing to innovate, which spells trouble for companies wanting to spur growth.

Kevin Ackhurst, Enterprise Google Australia’s managing director, stressed cloud adoption as a key factor in company growth and said companies need to rethink the way they invest in IT. As the nature of IT changes, the conversation needs to be less about budget and more about using technology to meet business needs.

Our survey data shows how US companies are dealing with cloud migration. We’ll be sharing some of those results soon.