The key themes underpinning the continued momentum for UK cloud adoption

I recently read with interest the results of the latest Cloud Industry Forum research survey into UK Cloud adoption and a couple of aspects jumped out at me, undoubtedly mirroring the experience iland is having within the UK market.

Overall cloud adoption rates among British businesses now stand at 88% and the rate of cloud adoption has increased by a whopping 83% since 2010, with an increase of 5% since last year.  In fact, today, we rarely speak with a customer that isn't using some type of cloud service and that's reflected in these results. The difference now is that, rather than taking an adhoc approach, companies of all sizes in the UK are taking a more strategic, planned approach to cloud adoption in recognition of its importance to business transformation.

Conducted in February 2017, the research, polled 250 IT and business decision-makers in large enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and public sector organisations.  The survey found that 67% of users expect to increase their adoption of cloud services over the coming year - again, this matches our experience - particularly for companies in highly regulated sectors such as Financial Services and Bio-tech/pharma.  These organisations may have been slow to the cloud adoption trend but adoption rates have now started to speed up. I think that is because there is now growing realisation that higher levels of IT security and industry compliance can be achieved in the cloud than on-premises and new cloud use cases are emerging as a result. 

Here at iland, what we have seen is a more significant increase in cloud adoption amongst small and public sector organisations - cloud security levels have come a long way and this, combined with the cost-effectiveness of cloud models, has attracted both small companies and public sector organisations to the cloud. The survey results showed a similar pattern with small and public sector organisation adoption rates now standing at 82% for both, up from 54% and 62%, respectively, a year ago.

Cloud-based disaster recovery solutions mean that even small and medium organisations can achieve a business continuity strategy previously only available to large enterprises. A great example of this is the East Thames public housing association who have kicked off their 'cloud-first' strategy with a successful DRaaS project.

The research also highlighted that 70% of respondents are either currently seeing or anticipate seeing their organisation have a competitive advantage from utilising cloud services - we hear this again and again from our customers. The benefits of cloud adoption surpass their expectations and drive competitive advantage. Many iland customers have even discovered unexpected use cases from cloud services such as using DR cloud capacity for development and testing.

So, the survey results are encouraging and the only way is up for the UK cloud industry (just as long as we deal with both the Brexit and GDPR issue which are undoubtedly both big concerns for UK organisations). However, I was surprised by one of the results that the survey uncovered about cloud migration.  The survey advised that: "On average it took 15 months to migrate applications to the cloud, with 90% experiencing difficulties when migrating to a cloud solution.”

The reasons given for these migration difficulties included complexity of migration (43%) and lack of internal skills/knowledge (32%). Clearly, more planning and expert assistance is needed up front to prepare for cloud migrations.

After all, there are very few companies who can make either the monetary or time investment required to develop new cloud implementation and management skills and a partnership between the customer and cloud service provider based on mutual understanding of responsibilities needs to fill that gap. Indeed, as UK cloud adoption levels continue to rise, the complexity of cloud projects will only increase and a high-touch, consultative approach from cloud providers will become much more important.

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