The latest Cloud Market Maturity study comes from a pair of non-profit industry organizations, the Cloud Security Alliance and ISACA, which develops standards and practices for information systems.
The study reports positive experiences that encourage adoption, including confidence that services are meeting expectations and that problems are being addressed by providers. That supports the perceived value of cloud computing, but business buy-in also needs to improve and senior management needs to perceive cloud services as a business asset rather than a technical issue.
“We must provide our organizations with new services and it must come from business leadership that understands cloud risks and value,” says Yves LeRoux, a member of CSA and the ISACA Guidance and Practices Committee. "This is not a gadget, this is something to enable our people.”
Among 250 respondents, one in four feels there is room for improvement in the area of innovation; 43 percent feel there is a moderate level of innovation among providers; and 33 percent find significant levels of innovation in services and their business use.
Behind regulation, exit strategy and privacy, the top concerns of respondents include legal issues, contract lock-in, data ownership and custodian responsibilities and supplier longevity.
Nearly all the respondents believe cloud computing is still a long way from maturity, that software as a service remains in early growth stages and that infrastructure and platform services are still in their infancy.
The value of cloud for providing business enablers (when supported by reliable and available services) ranked 4.08 on a scale of 5 and outscored the perceived benefits of cost savings (3.5) as a primary decision factor. The least important factor was reducing the environmental footprint of the organization (2.67).
Eighty-five percent of respondents identified themselves as cloud users; the rest were providers , consultants and integrators at organizations that crossed 15 industries. A copy of the CSA/ISACA study can be downloaded with registration.