Paper gives insight into importance of cloud security

WindstreamSecurityThinkPieceThis think piece gives greater insight to the topic that’s top of mind in any cloud conversation: security. In fact, 76% of respondents to our survey said that data security was a top concern when it came to making cloud migration strategies.

But despite the outsize security concern, many firms may not be following through with their security agendas when choosing a cloud vendor. Only 4% of respondents said meeting a minimum threshold of security was their most important quality when choosing a cloud services provider.

Most importantly, cloud security is a two-way street—vendors must have security measures in place, but those are useless without internal protocols and processes.

Read the full think piece here


What makes a cloud Trailblazer?

WindstreamTrailblazerInfographicClick to see full infographic

A small group of our survey respondents are farther ahead on the path to value. We know them as Trailblazers, and there are some interesting things they have in common, as seen in the infographic above. Trailblazers are significantly more likely than the rest of the respondents to have already moved applications into the cloud. Strategy is important to Trailblazers; they are far more likely to say that cloud is critical to their strategic visions and they have strategies for migrating to the cloud.

Most importantly, we found that Trailblazers have higher profits and expect higher revenue growth over the next two years. For more on Trailblazers, read our think piece on the topic. For an overview of the survey results, check out our white paper.

New paper highlights cloud leaders


This week we’re rolling out our final think piece which focuses on the habits and practices of those farthest ahead on the path to value—Trailblazers, as we call them. Trailblazers, who make up 14% of our survey respondents, have significantly higher profit margins and revenues than the rest of the respondents.

Trailblazers have a strategic, forward-thinking approach when it comes to cloud migration. They are significantly more likely to have a migration plan in place (58% vs. 26% of the total), and they leave decision making to a centralized group or committee at the regional or local level. They’re also far more concerned about data security in the cloud; to that end, they are significantly more likely to have SLAs in place and conduct internal audits of cloud services.

The path to value can be a tricky one, but following in the footsteps of Trailblazers is a good starting point for cloud migrations. Click here for the Trailblazer think piece.

New paper shows cloud’s business value

Today we are releasing the second of four think pieces in our Path to Value program. Each of these short, targeted papers focuses on a key takeaway from our survey analysis. So far we’ve taken an in-depth look at cloud’s strategic role. This think piece explores where companies are seeing value from their cloud migrations.

WindstreamValueThinkPieceClick to read the full think piece

On the whole, our respondents are seeing more sophisticated benefits from the cloud as their migrations progress. First-generation cloud benefits like increased operational efficiency and savings still rank highly, but the majority of our respondents are seeing benefits like increased collaboration among partners and business units, innovation, and time to market today—and companies expect impressive growth in these areas in two years.

Despite these numbers, our survey found that performance metrics to assess the success of these cloud strategies are in short supply—just 43% say they have defined metrics for KPIs and even fewer have defined metrics for ROI. Those companies that do have performance metrics in place are more likely to have higher profit margins and strong financial performance.

C-levels disagree about cloud decision making

One of the key takeaways from our survey of 350 business and technology executives was that although businesses have a sophisticated understanding of the benefits of the cloud, plans for migration are in short supply. This dearth of strategy may have to do with how decisions about the cloud are made.

How are decisions about cloud and managed services strategy made at your company? Click to enlargeWindstreamQ20a

As you can see in the chart above, C-level executives have very different opinions on how these decisions are made. For instance, while 29% of CFOs say cloud decisions are made by an individual at headquarters, only 10% of CIOs say that. Furthermore, only 6% of the other C-level titles we surveyed agree with that statement.

30% of our total respondents said decisions are made by a centralized group or committee at headquarters. 40% of the other C-levels we surveyed agree, but only 20% of CFOs say that’s true.

The differing responses to this question are troubling—in order to have a successful cloud migration, companies should agree upon and have a clear decision-making process when it comes to cloud and managed services.

Industry opinions: Cloud service providers

So far we’ve taken a look at the benefits that particular industry sectors are seeing from their cloud migrations, and what qualities they look for in a cloud services provider. Today we’ll focus on  what executives are saying about the providers themselves.

Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about cloud and managed services providers. (Top 2-box scores) Click to enlargeWindstreamQ25all

As you can see, a majority of respondents say cloud providers add measurable value to their business results. Among industries surveyed, financial services are seeing the most value—70% of respondents said their provider adds value—while only half of respondents from retail say that.

Professional services firms are the most likely among our industry respondents to expect a pre-sales technical consultation (54%), while government/education companies are the least likely (37%). Meanwhile, healthcare companies are significantly less likely to see cloud hosting as a commodity service (28%), while government/education is the industry most likely to see cloud as a commodity (46%).

Government/education organizations are also the least likely to say their provider adds measurable value to their operating processes, at 25%—but are the most likely to say their service provider works to tailor solutions to their needs, at 27%.

Cloud critical to strategy across industries

This week we’ll be bringing you an in-depth look at some findings from our Path to Value survey of 350 business and technology executives. From previous posts, we’ve seen that companies are moving assets to the cloud, but planning is in short supply. We’ve also seen what our Trailblazers—those respondents furthest in their cloud migration—are doing to stay ahead.

But in what ways is cloud strategy critical to companies?

To what extent do you agree with the following statements about your company’s cloud strategy today? Two years from now? Click to enlargeWindstreamQ13


As you can see, cloud is growing in strategic importance across all areas. But each industry we surveyed sees the most growth in different areas. 55% of respondents from the healthcare industry expect cloud to enable them to move to new geographical markets in two years—a growth of 72% from today. 54% of government/education respondents say cloud will support business-model transformation at their firms in two years, another 70% increase.

Retailers tend to be laggards in our survey—yet nearly half say that cloud will be critical to their innovation strategy in two years, a growth of 77%. Finally, the majority of both financial and professional services respondents expect cloud to push control of IT to line-of-business users in two years—growing 78% for professional services respondents and 60% for financial services.

The Path to Value project update

This week was a big week for the Path the Value in the Cloud.

We released a briefing paper outlining the findings of our survey of 350 business and technology executives nationwide. We found that cloud technology is fundamentally altering business processes and changing the ways firms interact with customers, partners, and employees. But many companies lack a migration plan and metrics for measuring their success in the cloud. The full paper can be downloaded here. 

We also released an interactive infographic detailing some top-level findings of the survey in an easily shareable format. You can view the infographic here.

But we’re not done yet. In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing four think pieces—short papers that delve deeply into some of the issues raised in our briefing paper, including cloud migration strategy, security in the cloud, how cloud is driving business value, and our cloud Trailblazers. We’ll also release infographics alongside these think pieces to provide a snapshot into these major issues.

And, as always, we’ll continue to update here along the way with key findings, cloud news, and project information.

Survey finds cloud a key to innovation and expansion

Our Path to Value survey of 350 business and technology executives across the United States revealed some surprising insights into how businesses approach and migrate to the cloud.

An article on InformationWeek’s website highlights key findings from the survey, including that businesses have a sophisticated view of the cloud, increasingly seeing cloud as “a key to greater collaboration and innovation, improved customer service, and business expansion.”

Strong majorities of companies think cloud will be a driver of innovation and expansion in two years, and companies are seeing measurable results from their cloud migrations. Additionally, we found a strong correlation between increased revenues and a more sophisticated adoption of cloud.

CVP Article(Click to continue reading)

Trailblazers see diverse benefits from cloud adoption

Our cloud Trailblazers, the group of survey respondents who are ahead on their path to value in the cloud, are far more likely to have migrated business functions to the cloud. They’re also seeing clear benefits from cloud adoption.

To what extent do cloud and managed services provide you with the following benefits today? (Top-2 box scores) Click to enlarge WindstreamTrailblazers3Nearly all Trailblazers are seeing increased collaboration among business units, improved customer service, and collaboration. Next we will look at how our cloud leaders are quantifying success in the cloud.