Rapid Corporate Adoption Curve Proclaims 'Cloud is Now;' Technology Spend to Leap Next Year, Says KPMG Report

Oct 04, 2011, 08:30 ET from KPMG

NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The vast majority of senior executives say their organizations have already moved at least some business activities to the Cloud and expect 2012 investment to skyrocket, with some companies planning to spend more than a fifth of their IT budget on Cloud next year, according to a report by KPMG International.  

"Clearly, these findings proclaim, 'the Cloud is now,'" said Lynne Doughtie, U.S. vice chair - Advisory at KPMG LLP.  "As Cloud adoption begins to accelerate among organizations around the world, clearly Cloud is transcending IT and widely impacting business operations, as a full third of survey respondents said it would fundamentally change their business, which is significant considering many organizations are still developing their Cloud strategies."

In a KPMG survey of organizations that will use the Cloud, as well as companies that will provide Cloud services, economic factors were cited by 76 percent of both groups as an important driver for Cloud adoption. However, a number of other considerations were equally or more important: 80 percent said the switch to Cloud was driven by efforts to improve processes, offering more agility across the enterprise; 79 percent of users and 76 percent of providers said they saw it as having technical benefits, in some cases improvements that they otherwise could not gain from their own data centers; and, 76 percent said the use of Cloud would have strategic benefits, possibly including transforming their business models to gain a competitive advantage.

Most user respondents to the KPMG survey (81 percent) said they were either evaluating Cloud, planned a Cloud implementation, or had already adopted a Cloud strategy and timeline for their organization, with almost one-quarter of them saying their organization already runs all core IT services on the Cloud (10 percent) or is in transition to do so (13 percent).  Fewer than one in 10 executives say their company has no immediate plans to enter the Cloud environment.

"Cloud adoption is quickly shifting from a competitive advantage to an operational necessity, enabling innovation that can create new business models and opportunities," said Steve Hill, U.S. vice chair - Strategic Investments at KPMG.  "As this rapid adoption curve continues to gain momentum amid a struggling economy, it is important for corporate leadership, directors and boards to be informed and engaged in strategic discussions about Cloud's impact on their long-term growth opportunities and competitiveness."

Hill, who previewed the KPMG survey findings this week during Oracle Open World, Oracle Corp.'s global conference in San Francisco, pointed out that the role of the corporate Cloud leader remained contentious. IT executives see migration to the Cloud as their initiative, while operations executives believe the CEO should lead the change. "Enter the Chief Integration Officer, as the traditional CIO's role expands to break down potential silos and integrate internal and external business needs, systems and partners," said Hill.  

IT-Business Executives Differ Moderately on Cloud Expectations

Executives whose companies would use a Cloud strategy agree that spending will rise significantly in 2012.

According to the KPMG survey, 17 percent of corporate executives said Cloud spending would exceed 20 percent of the total IT budget in 2012.

Half of the IT executives at companies where Cloud is or will be adopted say security is the most important challenge or concern, compared with 42 percent of the business unit executives, while 51 percent of the Cloud provider community said security topped their list. Business unit executives (29 percent) shared equal concerns about performance with their IT counterparts (30 percent). In addition:

  • IT governance was a top challenge among 22 percent of the IT leaders, but cited by just 17 percent of the business users;
  • Nearly a fifth (19 percent) of IT executives said loss of control over customer data was a perceived top challenge, compared with 14 percent of respondents among their operations counterparts; and,
  • Regulatory compliance was a top challenge among 16 percent of the business executives, compared with just 10 percent of the IT leaders.

Tax Considerations

The survey also found that approximately 45 percent of the respondents had not evaluated the tax implications of cloud or don't know if these factors are being evaluated. "Ignoring tax issues has never changed the responsibility of the payer, which makes taxation a critical issue for those wishing to evaluate all implications of the cloud environment," said Hill.

Cost Savings are Key

Respondents agree, however, that Cloud must offer a number of benefits before it can gain full momentum in their organization. For example, 75 percent of total respondents globally said they need to show a cost savings to justify a move into the Cloud. More executives from Asian-Pacific countries (86 percent) required a cost savings, than their counterparts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (72 percent) or the Americas (71 percent).

Almost half of respondents (45 percent) said that, to make Cloud worth the investment, IT savings would need to be from 1 percent to 10 percent from current spending, 34 percent said such savings would have to be from 11 percent to 25 percent, and some 10 percent said IT savings would need to be in excess of 25 percent.

The KPMG survey was conducted in 15 countries from February to April 2011, and canvassed 806 senior executives – nearly 50 percent of them from the C-level – in companies that use or plan to use Cloud, as well as 123 executives from Cloud service providers.

About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services.  We operate in 150 countries and have 138,000 people working in member firms around the world.  The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.us.kpmg.com), is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International.")  KPMG International's member firms have 138,000 professionals, including more than 7,900 partners, in 150 countries.

Bob Wade of KPMG LLP