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IDC cloud computing survey shows hybrid model increasingly attractive

Hybrid cloud computing, which mixes some elements of open outsourced technology with internal security procedures, is growing in importance, with more than 40% of business now adopting this IT model according to an IDC survey of 326 senior IT decision-makers at large companies across the UK, US, France and Germany.

The ‘Adoption of Cloud’ report, sponsored by Infosys, also shows that financial services in the keenest sector in terms of adopting hybrid cloud computing with 64% of the FS companies surveyed saying they plan to migrate to this model, against just 37% for retail and 40% for manufacturing. The latter 40% figure is also the average planned adoption figured for the hybrid option across all industries.

The private cloud, which ensures better security but does not give the same flexibility and cost-cutting benefits as the open or hybrid cloud, where outsourcing providers can get involved, is still the most popular option for the moment, concludes the ICD/Infosys survey, with 69% of respondents saying they planned to embrace this model. Productivity gains and cost savings (37% and 25%, respectively) are the top-ranking reasons why companies say they are adopting cloud computing in whatever form.

The most interesting finding is the growing attractiveness of the hybrid cloud as greater connections and efficiencies are sought beyond the internal company boundaries, across all sectors. A hybrid cloud model can help because internal corporate treasuries can use it to aid connectivity and straight-through processing (STP) rates in account payable (A/P) or receivables (A/R), for instance, and processing vendors can sometimes provide cheaper options if this route is followed and others are allowed in – provided a secure environment can be established. The hybrid option can also aid electronic invoicing in the supply chain, although closed systems are of course possible too. The same applies for local and global banks and the interactions between them and corporate customers.

The caveat of ‘buyer beware’ still applies of course when important procedures, such as payments, are moved into the cloud and outside of established perimeters.

Some 56% of the IDC/Infosys survey respondents are engaging or considering engaging an external service provider to help them develop their cloud computing strategy, adoption roadmap and implementation procedures. Companies in the survey emphasised the need for working with these service providers to address the complexities that come with building and managing a unified hybrid cloud environment.

According to 52% of the respondents choosing the best cloud providers and ensuring integration among them was also very important, with 14% saying it was extremely important. Nearly 48% of companies rated ‘data security and integration, automation, and the orchestration of applications between private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise IT environments’ as very high.

“We are seeing a definite uptick of interest in invest in cloud services across all organisations,” said David Tapper, vice president of IDC outsourcing services research, when commenting on the report. “With multiple service providers and the complexity of hybrid cloud environments, it can be a challenge for most organisations to manage and control the various aspects of the ecosystem, while retaining the flexibility to choose best-in-class cloud services. This study indicates that buyers are looking to partner with a reliable cloud ecosystem integrator to help optimise their cloud investments."