10 Ways Professional Services Companies Capitalize On The Cloud

Professional Services Ride Along With Cloud Adoption

Large enterprises in increasing numbers are calling on professional services companies to help them move to and stay in the cloud, according to a comprehensive survey conducted by research firm Technology Business Research (TBR).

The research firm surveyed 1,300 enterprises with at least 500 employees and more than $250 million in revenue or budget. It focused on the market for companies providing cloud professional services, cloud consulting, system integration, application development/migration services, cloud operations, and managed services. Small and midsized cloud-based managed services companies did not appear in the survey because of its focus on large enterprises.

Continue on and see how professional services companies will fare in the cloud.

1. Cloud Services Gain Respect

In 2011 and 2012, enterprises ramped up their engagement with cloud services organizations. They tested the waters and got their feet wet starting out in the cloud and also established relationships with cloud services providers.

2. Businesses Want More Cloud Services

Customers are moving beyond proof of concept as they become more comfortable with cloud capabilities. As cloud services mature, enterprise demand is moving from strictly advisory and consulting services to a broader spectrum of higher-volume cloud professional services offerings, TBR said.

And as the market grows, more professional services companies, including India-based companies, are seeking entrance.

3. Investment Ramps Up In Cloud Professional Services

Most businesses, more than 60 percent, engaging professional services for cloud operations in 2012 increased their investment, while 58 percent maintained their level of investment.

Cloud professional services customers were optimistic about their return on investment (ROI) in 2012, with almost 10 percent expecting it within nine months, 41 percent expecting ROI in one year and 33 percent believing ROI will take two years.

4. Heavyweight Vendors Hold Their Place in Services

The service arms of the big, established technology vendors -- IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle -- are at the top of the list of most sought-after cloud services companies by enterprises.

"Customers look to tool providers like Microsoft and Oracle for services, with the perception that SIs [system integrators] have yet to build specific granular applications utilized by customers," TBR said.

Traditional professional tech consultancies such as Accenture, Deloitte and Ernst & Young follow, trailed by India-based companies such as Infosys, TCS, CSC and Wipro.

5. Professional Services See Double-Digit Revenue Growth

Cloud-based professional services companies of all kinds are enjoying healthy revenue gains.

But the services organizations of established technology vendors see the biggest revenue gains as they can match cloud technology with their companies' portfolio of products, often already used by customer.

6. Use Of Cloud Services Varies By Geography

Both the adoption of cloud services and the use of cloud-related professional services changes according to geography, TBR found.

Companies located in the Asia and Pacific region (APAC) are ahead of the rest of the world in adoption as they leverage demand for infrastructure to integrate cloud technology.

In the U.S., in contrast, enterprises are used to expensive, legacy technology that requires more work to replace with cloud technology.

7. What Cloud Customers Want From Professional Services

Customers value fast implementation, increased productivity and better integration with IT, depending on which specialty they bring to a customer.

8. Security Issues Just Won't Go Away

Businesses list as their key cloud concern, which they want to mitigate, security, followed by privacy and data ownership.

9. Companies Rate Cloud SaaS Areas By Vertical Markets

Cloud professional services organizations can customize their offerings with go-to-market strategies for specific vertical markets in line with enterprise priorities, the TBR survey found.

10. Customer Service Rules

Good old-fashioned customer service is closest to the heart of enterprises using professional cloud services.

More than 26 percent of businesses, the highest response, said improvements in customer service and support would make them buy the service again.

"With cloud professional services still in the first half of its services lifecycle, changes made today should generate significant revenues for the future," the TBR survey said.