Nemertes reports positive results from cloud services

  • More companies are using cloud services for collaboration, reports Nemertes.

  • Web conferencing, email, calendar, IP telephony are popular.

  • Positive results include reduced costs, greater security, improved agility.

Sixty-three percent of companies are using cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications for at least part of their collaboration services, according to the Nemertes Research 2014-15 Enterprise Technology Benchmark. While Web conferencing is currently the most popular app, others are quickly gaining market share: 33% of users have email/calendar SaaS; 26% have cloud-based IM (often with integrated Web conferencing, voice, and video chat capabilities); 18% use video conferencing services that rely on cloud-based bridges; and 18% use IP telephony in the cloud, up from 13% in 2013. Many non-users are evaluating future adoption. For IP telephony, 23% are evaluating cloud-based services, or planning to deploy them in the next year.

Cloud saves money, adds flexibility

Those who have made the switch cite a variety of factors that led them to the cloud, including cost savings (primarily in reducing capital expenses), greater flexibility and agility to add and subtract seats as needed, the ability to shift IT focus from running apps to helping business units innovate and improve processes, and a desire to take advantage of faster upgrade cycles and greater agility that comes from leveraging someone else’s infrastructure.

Still, many large organizations limit cloud application use, often to just web conferencing (even in some cases moving Web conferencing on premises to reduce cost variability that comes from per-person or usage-based billing models). Justifications for not using cloud-based apps include cost (often the per-person licensing cost for cloud services exceeds the cost of buying and running the software yourself over a three year period), as well as concerns related to reliability and security, and requirements for data retention.

Email/calendar is the one area where even large companies are aggressively moving to cloud. Nemertes’ 2014-15 Enterprise Technology Benchmark shows that about 38% of mid-size companies (in the 250-2,500 employee range), as well as 17% of large companies (those of more than 2,500 employees) are already using such services, while another 13% of mid-size and 17% of large are planning to buy SaaS email/calendar by the end of 2014.

Successful conferencing and collaboration

So far, those using cloud services have been reporting good results. In our correlation of overall video conferencing success, for example, with the use of cloud-based video platforms, we found a strong positive success correlation with those who were leveraging cloud services for bridging internal and external participants. Those evaluating or using cloud-based telephony services report greater IP telephony success than those with no plans for such services, or who are planning a future deployment.

For IT leaders, the time to evaluate cloud is now. Even if such services don’t make sense today, they might tomorrow. In addition, fully-managed private cloud offerings from solutions providers could meet your desire for flexible billing, reduced opex costs, and your security/compliance/governance requirements.

At the same time, you can realize the benefits of improved agility and a freed-up IT staff that is better able to focus on supporting strategic initiatives and facilitating innovation.

Irwin Lazar is the author of this blog post and the VP and Service Director for Nemertes Research.  AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

Irwin Lazar Vice President and Service Director Nemertes Research About Irwin