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The continuing adoption of cloud computing by Irish organizations is clear from research conducted by IDC in its IT Trends and Expenditure in Ireland 2017 survey.  It was possible to compare the findings of the Irish research and a comprehensive IDC survey conducted across Europe a few months earlier. When we examined the IT investment priorities of organizations in the different countries we observe far more similarity than divergence.

‘Infrastructure optimization’ and  ‘application consolidation/modernization’ are both in the top 3 ranked areas in Ireland and across Europe.

This provides us with a context for the growth of cloud computing in Ireland and elsewhere. More specifically, Irish survey respondents were asked to say which business applications they had moved to the cloud and which ones they planned to move in the next two years.

It is interesting to see how the evolution of the cloud market has been impacted depending on whether the migration decision has been driven by the IT function or by line of business personnel. Customer relationship management (CRM) and human capital management (HCM) are the most popular applications to have been moved to the cloud already by Irish organizations. Typically, such migrations have been driven by personnel outside of the IT department, in sales/marketing and HR. They are lower-risk applications which benefit from the availability of established cloud-products (e.g. Salesforce) to drive implementation. In the case of ‘supply chain / logistics’ and ‘financial applications’ the IT Trends survey shows that considerably fewer cloud migrations have taken place. These are central to the internal operations of the business and any plan to migrate these to the cloud would require comprehensive engagement by the IT department and line of business managers with significant risk taken by both. These applications also have the lowest levels of planned cloud migration in the next two years.

However, the areas that the survey respondents have primarily earmarked for cloud migration in the next two years are exclusively the domain of the IT function. These are ‘infrastructure (servers, storage)’ and ‘application development’. This should lead to a boost for the PaaS and IaaS markets in the near term.

The survey also provided some clues on the increasing maturity of the Irish market. There has been a sharp increase in the number of organizations who see ‘IT governance issues, including challenges related to defining standard services and SLAs’ as an inhibitor with regard to cloud implementation. Similarly, more organizations reported that cloud is ‘hard to integrate with in-house IT systems and management’ than did so in last year’s survey.

The prevalence of these issues suggests that Irish organizations involvement with cloud computing is maturing and moving toward greater dependency. This will assuredly continue. Indeed, Irish organizations, many of whom are planning digital transformation projects in the next two years, see cloud computing as a key facilitator. This is the correct approach in IDC’s view.  Cloud models provide a strong foundation for digital transformation within organizations. In practice, organizations are likely to have a mix of public and private cloud services and these need to be integrated to provide a unified service to users.  Further details on the status of digital transformation in Ireland as evidenced by the IT Trends survey can be found in another blog post

For more information check out IDC’s IT Trends and Expenditure in Ireland, 2017 report.