Talkin’ Cloud: 46% of Firms Buying More Software as a Service

Business Cloud

Cloud computing has been growing enormously over the last two years, attracting attention not just from businesspeople and journalists but from research firms as well. Gartner, MarketsandMarkets, and similar organizations that analyze industries to suggest trends and forecast growth have tracked and projected the rise of the cloud model..

A recent study by IDC, published in December 2013, explored the growth of software as a service, which IDC also called “cloud software.” The total revenue generated for SaaS solutions in 2012 was $28 billion, 28.4% higher than the previous year. IDC stated that this segment will continue to grow at a remarkable pace, achieving a 22% compound annual growth rate to exceed $76 billion in 2017. Furthermore, the software as a service market will expand nearly 400% more rapidly than the general software industry. Three years from now, cloud software will represent 17% of all business software purchases.

This particular cloud product has been a popular choice for many businesses wanting to test out distributed virtual environments. IDC’s cloud VP, Robert P. Mahowald, noted that in the IT world, public cloud and software as a service are at the center of a “transformation [that] is the number one strategic goal of all major IT product vendors.”

A recent report released by cloud publication Talkin’ Cloud generally agrees with cloud software growth predictions released elsewhere and, by looking directly at the perspectives of cloud service providers, gives us an inside peek at how hosting providers are adjusting to demand. We will review that cloud analysis, which was just released on October 14, in detail. First, though, let’s look at the three major types of cloud service (of course, skip down if you already know that stuff).

SPI Cloud Model

Techopedia notes that cloud computing is often arranged into the software, platform, infrastructure model – also called the SPI model. TechTarget describes the three components of the SPI model as follows:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – provision of software by a cloud host through the Internet or another network;
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – a way to use an operating system and related technology through the web rather than having to download updates; and
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – an arrangement with a third-party organization to provide backend hardware for any of a company’s digital needs, such as operations and storage.

Survey: What Type of Cloud Service for 2014?

Much of the conversation on cloud has turned toward the security and access categorization: public versus private versus community (the latter a collaborative effort in which several organizations share cloud infrastructure that was just adopted by Salesforce). The other basic way to designate cloud is in terms of the service provided: software as a service (SaaS) vs. platform as a service (PaaS) vs.infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Talkin’ Cloud (TC) asked visitors to its website what type of cloud service was accounting for the most increased expenditure during 2014. The press release issued by TC noted the responses to the survey, alongside information regarding the cloud offerings of hosting providers derived from the 2014 Talkin’ Cloud 100 Survey.

The Weekly Poll

The poll asked specifically, “Will you invest more in SaaS, PaaS or IaaS in 2014?” The results were as follows, based on the responses of 66 individuals:

  • SaaS – 31 votes (46%)
  • IaaS– 22 votes (33%)
  • PaaS – 14 votes (21%).

Granted, TC noted that the survey is “unscientific,” and a quick test revealed that it is possible to vote twice from the same IP address. That said, it provides an opening for discussion.

In commentary related to the poll, CJ Arlotta of TC wrote that SaaS was defining itself at the top choice for cloud investment by companies. Arlotta also remarked that Salesforce (mentioned above regarding community clouds) was a market leader in platform as a service with its customer relationship management (CRM) offerings.

Relationship to 2014 Talkin’ Cloud 100 Survey

The weekly poll is somewhat limited and superficial because it only asks one question. However, TC has also collected a huge amount of information from 100 worldwide cloud service providers through an annual survey. That survey serves as a reflective complement to the weekly poll, offering a glimpse of provider perspectives to accompany those of customers. The principal findings are as follows:

1.) The amount of focus paid by providers to the various cloud services did not change significantly between 2012 and 2013. Most providers had plans available for each of the three types, with emphasis on software as seen with the weekly poll:

  • 81% cloud software;
  • 71% cloud infrastructure; and
  • 54% cloud platform.

2.) What is the function of the cloud software, though? The breakdown of the various types of SaaS offerings is as follows:

  • 70% disaster recovery and/or backup;
  • 69% email;
  • 62% email security;
  • 62% storage; and
  • 56% general security.

Notably, the general security software option has taken a nosedive since last year, when 68% of respondents were providing applications of that type.

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By Kent Roberts