Cloud Maturity Is Increasing

Cloud Is Growing but Most Organizations Are Still Attempting to Improve Cloud Strategies

Cloud adoption is growing. This year’s survey revealed that fully 68% of organizations had some form of cloud strategy (public or private). A very broad range of workloads are migrating to the cloud – 30% or more of organizations have already migrated, or have plans to migrate literally every workload we asked about to the cloud. But despite this level of adoption, most organizations are still working to improve their cloud strategies. IDC defines 5 levels of cloud maturity:

1. Ad Hoc. Beginning to increase awareness of cloud options and turning to cloud because of the immediacy of their need, often in an unauthorized manner.

2. Opportunistic. Experimenting with short-term improvements IT cloud resource access. Usually consider cloud for new solutions or isolated computing environments.

3. Repeatable. Enabling more agile access to IT resources through standardization and implementation of best practices. Rely on self-service portals to access cloud services.

4. Managed. Implementing a consistent, enterprise-wide best practices approach to cloud and orchestrating service delivery across an integrated set of resources.

5. Optimized. Delivering innovative IT-enabled products and services from internal and external cloud providers and driving business innovation through transparent access to IT capacity based on the value to the business and transparent cost measures.

Our study revealed that despite the overall high levels of cloud adoption, only 25% have Repeatable, Managed, or Optimized cloud strategies – the three highest maturity levels (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Most Organizations Are Still Attempting to Optimize Their Cloud Strategies

There is significant room for improvement. Moving up the maturity scale is an incremental process. It’s possible for organizations to start at different stages or skip some stages completely. The key is to adopt best practices such as workload portability, security, and policy-based automation to continue moving up the curve. For example companies in the Ad Hoc category could move to Opportunistic by working with initially unauthorized cloud projects and as they yield business results embracing them as a model for further cloud experimentation. That, in turn, could lead to Repeatable cloud activity and so on.

Organizations’ Expectations Shifting to Improving Business Outcomes

We are entering a “Second Wave” of cloud adoption. In the first wave the primary focus of cloud was on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as reducing the cost of IT operations, better meeting service-level agreements, and improving the customer experience.

Figure 2 shows that those have become table stakes: companies have largely baked in expectations around SLAs, cost of IT operations, customer experience, and agility improvements for cloud deployments. In contrast, during this second wave, companies are building expectations around how cloud can impact broader, more strategic measures of the business’ success: its strategic allocation of IT budget and ability to increase their revenue.