Will cloud technologies catch on with businesses of all sizes?

woman with laptopChief information officers at all companies worldwide are faced with the question of how to improve their strategies for managing technology. CIOs now manage more data than ever, and they need reliable, high-tech methods of keeping it all under their watchful eye.

Cloud computing services would seem to be an easy solution to this quandary. Companies want elasticity from their tech infrastructure – they want their capabilities to be flexible and always evolving, and they want the same from their prices. That happens to be the beauty of the cloud. Countless companies are now offering cloud solutions to businesses everywhere, and they’ve created a buyer’s market in which firms are competing to offer better services, lower prices and more customizable options.

As a result, cloud adoption in the corporate world is through the roof. Reuven Cohen of Forbes recently reported on this growing trend, writing that the cloud is a buzzword at every technology conference. As vendors have relentlessly peddled their goods and services, and companies have paid increased attention to the cloud’s potential, CIOs have made sweeping changes to their budgets in an effort to make the cloud a bigger part of their operations.

Cohen cited recent survey data showing that for the first time, cloud use is now a mainstay at over 50 percent of workplaces, meaning what was once a small niche interest has now become a majority. A study from Neovise, a firm that studies the evolution of the IT industry, found that among 822 leading decision-makers in IT, 54 percent are now using public clouds, private clouds or both., Among the 161 organizations that already use infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions, 74 percent are using more than one type of IaaS cloud. People are moving their businesses cloudward, and they’re diversifying their strategies.

Neovise president Paul Burns authored a report, entitled “Cloud Sprawl,” that detailed the firm’s findings. Burns explained that enterprises aren’t merely adding public clouds to bolster their existing infrastructures – instead, they’re making grand, overarching changes in IT.

“In fact, about three fourths of the organizations that use cloud computing are using more than one type of SaaS cloud,” Burns said, according to Forbes. “While it is helpful to select clouds that most perfectly match the needs of each application, this approach also leads to some new challenges. For example, it can be much harder to track resources and spending, manage and maintain these environments, and maintain sufficient expertise on each cloud.”

Will small businesses join in?
There’s no doubt that the cloud has made tremendous gains of late, but one question remains. Will the cloud’s growth be felt equally by businesses of all sizes?

So far, only large corporations have embraced the cloud wholeheartedly. For smaller businesses, there are a few hangups. PC Magazine recently noted that awareness was one such difficulty. Citing a recent Brother survey, the news source pointed out that 27 percent of small business owners don’t understand at all what the cloud is, while 46 percent of them only “somewhat” grasp the technology.

Of course, it’s possible to use the cloud all the time without even knowing it. Millions of people use their Google Docs accounts every day to access and share information, in both personal and professional settings. But in order to fully capitalize on all the benefits the cloud has to offer, companies must strive for more awareness. CIOs should work with others within their workplaces to remind executives of the power of revamped tech infrastructures.

CIOs have made tremendous strides in recent years to introduce their companies to better tech infrastructures. Still, more work needs to be done in this area - especially with smaller enterprises that could really use a tech boost.

Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for CIOs.com. She has an educational background in languages and literature. She covers IT trends and executive technology management topics for the company.