Majority of cloud users benefiting from IT innovation following adoption, new research finds

Claranet research points to redefined role with reduced administrative burden

Half of organisations believe that cloud adoption has changed the role of their IT department, but more than four-fifths still anticipate having a need for a distinct department as far in the future as 2020, according to research by Claranet. While the transformative potential of cloud computing is having a profound effect on how the IT department operates, it is facilitating a change in focus towards strategy and innovation rather than rendering it obsolete, says Claranet Managing Director Michel Robert.

Claranet’s third annual cloud adoption survey, which polled 300 IT decision-makers from a range of small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises, found that 49 per cent of respondents have seen their organisation’s adoption of cloud solutions change the role of the IT department. Of these, 57 per cent said the IT department was now more strategic in its outlook, while 55 per cent said that cloud computing had put their IT department in a strong position to innovate new solutions for the organisation.

This shift in focus was emphasised by organisations’ expectations of what the core activities of their IT departments will be in the future. 54 per cent said that data security would be a key function in 2020 (down from 66 per cent today), while technical support was cited by 46 per cent (compared with 60 per cent for whom it is currently a major focus). More than four-fifths (82 per cent) believe that their organisation will still have a need for a distinct IT department in 2020, rather than its functions being entirely outsourced or absorbed by other internal departments.

Organisations are increasingly aware of the true potential of cloud adoption and outsourcing, seeing it as presenting an opportunity to redirect resources and take a longer-term strategic view of their IT operations. This might mean investigating innovative new ‘cloud-native’ applications that they would not be able to run on their on-premises infrastructure, and that will facilitate new business opportunities, rather than simply porting existing applications,” Robert said.

Claranet’s research also found that reducing pressure on in-house IT teams was a key objective of cloud migration projects for three quarters (75 per cent) of organisations. However, of those organisations for whom adopting cloud services has changed the role of their IT department, less than a quarter (23 per cent) have seen it reduce in size.

“The fact that the vast majority of IT departments are seeing no change to their staffing levels once they migrate functions to the cloud is a strong sign that – far from sounding the death-knell for internal IT departments – cloud adoption can relieve pressure on in-house teams. By outsourcing resource-heavy tasks that contribute little to the bottom line, organisations can free up their IT departments to focus on the kind of innovation and strategic thinking that ensures IT best serves the needs and direction of the business,” Robert concluded.

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