The Buzz: What Enterprises Are Doing in the Cloud

The week before last I wrote about the top 7 benefits of enterprise cloud – as reported by enterprises themselves. Less often discussed is what, exactly, enterprises are doing in the cloud. So here are the top 6 activities that enterprises are migrating to the cloud (public, private, and/or hybrid) – again, as reported by the enterprises themselves.

Top 6 activities that enterprises are migrating to the public, private, and/or hybrid enterprise cloud

1. Conferencing, collaboration, and messaging applications – Web-based conferencing tools like WebEx, collaboration tools like Jive, and messaging applications like HeyWire represent significant use cases for the cloud. According to the 2013 State of the Cloud survey by CDW, “Large businesses and the federal government are first and foremost going to the cloud for conferencing and collaboration applications (40 percent and 39 percent, respectively).”

2. Storage – From archives to disaster recovery, storage is another significant use case for the cloud, in particular for small and medium-sized businesses. According to the CDW survey, Storage is the primary service for 40 percent of small businesses and 35 percent of mid-sized businesses.” According to a 2013 survey by Neovise, among organizations surveyed that have migrated applications to the cloud, 60% have migrated to a private cloud (and 34% to a public cloud) specifically for disaster recovery readiness.

3. Business productivity applications – Many enterprises see the migration of business productivity applications like e-mail, calendars, and document storage as a relatively low-risk, high-benefit cloud use case. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Unlike ERP, there is little to lose by migrating email and office productivity software to a cloud provider.” According to the 2013 State of the Cloud survey by CDW, 41% of organizations have already or are migrating business productivity applications to the cloud; an additional 24% are making plans to do so.

4. Application development and testing – Among organizations surveyed by Neovise that have migrated applications to the cloud, 45% have migrated prototyping/rapid application development to a private cloud (32% to a public cloud). 61% have migrated application testing (functional, load, performance, or other) to a private cloud (and 32% to a public cloud).

5. On-demand computing – As Nuvalo explains, cloud is ideal for workloads like high-performance computing, big data analytics, and other applications that require large amounts of capacity on demand. “They do not require high availability, but may require high performance.” Furthermore, demand often fluctuates significantly, depending on what project the research team is working on, for example, making the on-demand nature of the cloud particularly appealing. According to the 2013 State of the Cloud survey by CDW, 37% of organizations have already or are migrating to the cloud for compute power; an additional 22% are making plans to do so.

6. Business process applications – Across both mission-critical business process applications (e.g., enterprise resource planning) and non-essential business process applications (e.g., human resources), 37% of enterprises have or are migrating to the cloud, and another 20% are planning to, according to the CDW survey.

In some cases, enterprises turn to private cloud instead of public cloud for mission-critical applications. According to the Neovise survey, among organizations that have migrated applications to the cloud, 63% have migrated mission-critical production applications to a private cloud (25% to a public cloud).

In other cases, organizations migrate just non-essential applications. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Corporate customers recognize that cloud-based systems can offer greater efficiency and flexibility, and they are switching to the cloud where practical. For example, Xerox uses on-premise applications from both SAP and Oracle to manage critical business needs such as billing, and uses cloud software from Oracle and Salesforce.com to manage sales accounts and human resources.”

Demand for cloud-based business process applications is clear. Oracle, for example, has seen its cloud business grow 22% in the last year, even though it remains a relatively small share of the company’s overall revenue. Companies like Oracle recognize that even for mission-critical applications, the cloud is the future. According to Gartner, at least 30% of service-centric companies will move most of their ERP applications to the cloud by 2018.

If you’re looking to migrate one of these 6 activities – or any other – to the enterprise cloud, Learn more about IO.Cloud.