The market for public cloud IT services is expected to grow at an average rate of 21.6% between 2009 and 2014, according to a forecast by market research firm IDC, reaching almost $30 billion. That compares to revenue of about $11 billion in 2009.

According to the survey, which delved into the outlook for various market sectors, the professional services, communications and media, and discrete and process manufacturing markets will generate the most public IT cloud services revenue. IDC said the professional services market in particular, is poised for substantial growth, partly due to the large number of information-dependent midsize companies that will adopt software-as-a-service.

IDC distinguishes public IT cloud services from private IT cloud services, as being “browser-based and available to any person or entity.” It said public cloud services are off-premise from a customer standpoint and do not require any dedicated, application-specific, or proprietary client-side hardware or software to support access.

Other key findings from the report include: 

  • The services and distribution sector – which includes vertical markets such as retail, wholesale, professional services, consumer and recreational services, and transportation – currently contributes the largest share of U.S. public IT cloud services revenue. Currently $3 billion is spent by this sector and IDC estimates it will more than double to $8.5 billion by 2014.
  • Applications accounted for more than half of revenues in 2009, but over the forecast period, applications will drop to one-third of market revenue and infrastructure software will grow to 22% of revenue.
  • Verticals that are highly regulated or have serious privacy and security concerns, such as government, banking, and healthcare, will likely limit their spending on public cloud IT services to such applications as email, messaging and collaboration.

“While the healthcare vertical will represent less than 5% of this market’s total revenue in 2014, it will experience a high compound annual growth rate of nearly 23% through the forecast period,” IDC analyst Ruthbea Yesner Clarke said in releasing the report. “Despite serious concerns about privacy, current healthcare reform and the rise in connected healthcare will lead providers to the public cloud for specific functions, such as collaboration applications.”


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