The cloud services industry is poised for strong growth through to 2014, when Gartner says worldwide cloud services revenue should reach $148,8-billion.

However, cloud computing has a significant – albeit varying – market reputation globally, a fact highlighted by a recent MTN Business survey to ascertain what organisations in South Africa and broader are thinking with regards to cloud computing and virtualisation services.
Although 50% of the businesses surveyed have noticed a significant increase in the uptake of or interest in, cloud computing across South Africa in last six months, 35% feel the trend is general uncertainty. While 45% of respondents feel that trusted advice is readily available when it comes to understanding the impact and adoption strategies of cloud, another 45% find advice to be available, but overall are still confused based on varying industry options – which mirrors global sentiments.
However, despite this local uncertainty, 55% of local respondents are already allocating IT budgets to either commence or continue cloud and virtualisation investments in 2011 and a quarter are seriously investigating their options this year – as they recognise the potential of this technology.
“It is encouraging to see that 45% of local businesses believe that cloud is the next obvious step in IT innovation and that this, along with the need to examine more cost-effective operational options (35%) is driving adoption of these technologies locally,” says Angela Gahagan, managing executive of MTN Business. “It’s also optimistic to see that 60% of respondents agree that Africa has a key technology advancement opportunity with cloud computing uptake and although, like any new technology it will be adopted at a slow and steady pace, 65% are in the opinion that Cloud will be the technology of the future.”
Various sources outline the inhibitors to adopting cloud – with security and integration seemingly topping the list and local sentiments mirror this as when asked to rank the largest inhibitors to cloud adoption locally, vendor viability and security came out tops, with costs and resistance to change also coming through as pressing concerns.
“Cloud computing and virtualisation are destined to reshape an organisation’s IT infrastructure and the manner in which information resources are deployed, utilised and stored for crucial decision making and so it’s only natural that there are some reservations,” adds Gahagan. “However, it is evident that cloud technologies will be the most significant driver of the successful mobile workforce management, essentially a workforce in the cloud where it allows secure access to virtual private networks, employee desktops and an array of business applications.”
Cloud computing and virtualisation will continue to grow and this will see new innovative solutions come to the fore – ones that allow businesses to save costs, streamline processes and ensure productivity is achieved.
Concludes Gahagan; “Deciphering the value of this new technology is difficult – especially to an already cautious business environment recovering from a global recession – but certainly MTN Business are committed to bringing this value proposition and the transparency needed around such technologies to the local market.”