2nd Watch Survey: Digital Business Trending To The Cloud

Global cloud-focused solution provider 2nd Watch released the results of a survey Thursday highlighting the trend among large companies to implement their digital business initiatives through cloud solutions.

2ndWatch, Seattle, polled almost 500 IT and business leaders in the last week of January and first week of February about their plans to drive sales and marketing programs through online outreach to customers and prospects. What the AWS Premier partner found suggests 2015 could be another banner year as far as cloud adoption.

Half of the respondents said moving more of these processes to the cloud would be their most important digital initiative of 2015. Almost 60 percent were already using a combination of on-premise and cloud services to power their digital business initiatives.

[Related: 2nd Watch Doubles Revenue In 2014, Says Best Times For Cloud Partners Still Ahead]

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More than 20 percent of the respondents reported they follow a "cloud first" methodology.

2nd Watch will use the survey results to better understand customers as they seek cloud solutions and hopes the data will help current and potential customers gauge themselves in relation to their peers, Jeff Aden, co-founder and vice president of business development, told CRN.

"It tells you where customers are in their journey and what their top priorities are," Aden told CRN.

"What we do with this information is help them understand how some of these sales and marketing programs can change and evolve over time," he said.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said their most important consideration for adopting a digital strategy was understanding the cloud. Creating a road map of business and tech initiatives was the top consideration for 25 percent, and cultural change was cited by 20 percent of respondents.

The most common driver for leveraging new cloud technologies -- cited by 38 percent of the respondents -- was improving customer service. Another 27 percent of respondents said increasing revenue was their main reason for cloud adoption.

Most companies are using a mix of cloud computing and traditional IT for their digital sales and marketing processes, the survey found.

Of those polled, 36 percent said between one-quarter and one-half of this year's total sales and marketing services will leverage the cloud, and 24 percent put that percentage between one-half and three-quarters of all services.

2nd Watch also asked companies what kind of business metrics they're measuring with cloud-based tools. The time to deploy new digital programs was the top answer, cited by 54 percent of respondents. Almost 50 percent were also measuring the cost of digital programs, 43 percent the return on investment, and 33 percent were measuring their automation.

Aden told CRN that businesses are coming to understand that the methods employed by traditional IT processes create delays for new projects.

Forty-four percent of the respondents told 2nd Watch it takes up to three months for them to provision new infrastructure to deploy complex applications. Just more than half understood that developing and deploying new digital programs rapidly and to scale was a major advantage of adopting cloud solutions.

Half the respondents also told 2nd Watch they saw cost savings as another major advantage.