Cloud continues to enable innovation in tough economic climate

When it comes to embracing AI, meeting ESG demands and becoming a more efficient organisation, cloud remains a trusted constant.

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New research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has found that 100% of organisations are now accessing cloud-based services to meet their needs, with the most common motivation being its potential to offer greater flexibility of IT spend, and its ability to make them more agile as a business.

The data, taken from CIF’s latest research white paper, Tough times, but innovation springs internal, also examined the continued prominence of artificial intelligence in fuelling innovation, and the continued importance placed on ESG efforts.

Key findings from the research included:

• The preferred cloud-based services were AWS (used by 57% of respondents), Azure (51%) and IBM (51%). 39% of organisations reported using Google Cloud, 28% Oracle and 18% Salesforce.

• 33% of respondents highlighted cloud’s potential to offer greater flexibility of IT spend, while 32% of organisations noted better agility.

• 96% of organisations believe that AI will be at least somewhat important to their organisation in the next five years, an increase from 86% in 2023.

• Further to this, 42% of respondents reported that they consider AI among their most important IT projects, ahead of other considerations such as security and IT sustainability.

• 94% of organisations are either planning to or are already using generative AI, with 62% saying it is already in use across at least some parts of the business.

• 40% of respondents reported that IT sustainability is an important project for their organisation, underlining the sustained relevance of ESG-related initiatives.

• 78% expressed that they plan to reach net zero by at least 2040, and 87% plan to do so by 2050.

David Terrar, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum, said: “Cloud has long been a regular feature in any modern companies’ tech stack, and this year’s research exemplifies how this remains the case as businesses across industries manage a challenging economic climate. With cloud services more or less ubiquitous now, attention should turn to where businesses can maximise its potential, particularly in crucial areas such as AI and ESG. Thanks to its inherent flexibility, cloud can help companies navigate these challenges with confidence.

“Our research also indicates that AI’s rapid rise has continued over the last 12 months and shows little sign of slowing. In fact, many of those surveyed highlighted AI as one of their most important projects, outranking other key considerations like security and cloud migration. Nearly all of the respondents said that AI is a part of their plans, but two thirds of them are already using it, likely representing the fastest adoption of new enterprise technology ever.

“Cloud naturally has a key role to play in the further adoption of AI, offering the agility to enable businesses to experiment with AI and reap its rewards. In response, cloud service providers are already integrating AI into their offerings and leveraging its capabilities where possible.

“It also encouraging to see that despite reports of ESG efforts being curtailed across industries, those surveyed still consider IT sustainability an important project for their organisation, and a large majority are well on their way towards net zero. Economic constraints are not leading to watered-down sustainability efforts, and progress towards greener initiatives continues to grow.

“Economic uncertainty remains one of the few constants that businesses can reliably expect. In the coming year, organisational leaders should continue to work closely with their service providers to ensure that they’re getting the very most out of cloud, while providers should be examining with urgency how they can develop and adapt their offerings to help customers succeed in the age of AI.”

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