Cloud Computing

Firms sign on to more clouds from startups and veterans

A new survey gives an indicator of some of the companies that might join, Amazon, Workday, NetSuite and others in providing the next crop of business cloud computing giants. And, perhaps surprisingly, a fair number of them will be familiar names rather than rambunctious startups.

“I’m quite amazed at the changes I’ve seen in cloud adoption since I joined Okta just two-and-a-half year years ago,” says Phil Turner, EMEA VP at Okta, the identity management company that has just produced a report, Business @ Work, providing an overview of which applications and services companies are deploying all over the world.

So what’s hot? One name will be hugely familiar but usually associated with the client/server generation rather than the cloud.

“Microsoft Office 365 is by far the most popular application in our network,” Turner says, leading from Salesforce, Box, Google Apps and AWS.

The productivity and messaging suite appears to have overtaken Salesforce about a year ago. Oddly enough, Okta found lots of organisations using O365 alongside its rival Google Apps with, for example, creative departments such as marketing preferring Apps. But three in 10 respondents to Okta’s survey said they were using O365 purely for desktop licensing purposes.

Microsoft isn’t alone in showing that the enterprise veterans are successfully reimagining themselves for the cloud age: Adobe, SAP and Oracle are also doing the same and growing at a rapid clip. However, a relatively new name is one to watch.

“If there’s a hot word it’s most definitely ‘Slack’,” Turner says, noting how the communications service is now the 12th most activated business cloud service despite not having placed in the top 25 in August last year. That growth is faster even than that of Tableau, the darling of business intelligence visualisation.

Slack’s rise might have wider implications, Turner believes:

“I think IT has changed in its approach to saying if we don’t allow the business to use what it needs to use its going to do it anyway.”

Not all indicators are positive. Firms are generally deploying more and more cloud applications all over the world but North America remains a pioneer leading the rest of the (slower) world. Also, certain industries are laggards.

But generally, Okta’s survey confirms the notion that, 15 years after the term was created, the cloud is becoming the standard way to consume IT services.


Related reading:

Cloud computing’s 15th birthday

Okta CEO offers cloud cover for firms signing on


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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