Admitted, we had some second thoughts after we decided to embark on a global Cloud research project, earlier this year. With 2013 rapidly approaching and so much already said and discussed about Cloud, who would be interested in Yet Another Cloud Report? Our doubts disappeared when the first data points came in and the outlines of a quickly shifting state of play emerged.

The uptake of Cloud is both faster and slower than expected, but in any case the impact is undeniable: IT is no longer what it used to be and already showing a remarkably different face. Only appropriate that I am writing this blog post in between sessions at re:Invent, the first ever client and partner conference of Amazon Web Services (AWS). With 6000 attendees, it has a very good start. And to everybody over here in Las Vegas it is strikingly clear that big changes are on their way. AWS has become almost a synonym for Cloud, the Xerox of Cloud if you like. With 23 price reductions in 6 years, an amazingly rich catalogue of Cloud services and a quickly evolving market place of 3rd party solutions, they are setting the benchmark to beat for competitors and IT departments the like.

We were proud to be selected as AWS 2013 premium tier partner and also took the opportunity to announce the launch of a Test Drive Program for SAP Hana and Mobility Management, all running on the AWS platform.

But more about that soon. Back to the report. I recommend you read it yourself: we have tried to keep it short and crisp, as you would expect in the era of Cloud.

However, three insights stand out:

1. The business starts to own the Cloud budget. By now already almost 50/50, the balance is shifting towards the business being in the lead for choosing and implementing Cloud solutions. With the benefits of Cloud (like cost-effectiveness, flexibility, scalability, simplicity and speed to market) now well understood, the business side seems to be more determined than ever to create value from IT again, even if it has to drive it itself.  So better keep working on that relationship with the Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Financial Officer or HRM- or Procurement-executive, as they may be leading the Cloud way. *

2. The migration will be stepwise and careful. Notwithstanding all the Cloud euphoria, there are still reasons enough for organizations not to aggressively migrate their existing IT assets to the Cloud. All the usual suspects are there – rightfully so or not – including security, legislation, privacy, integration issues, robustness and manageability. It keeps organizations cautious, hence a remarkable preference for private and hybrid Cloud scenarios at this time, rather than choosing for the obvious benefits of public Cloud. It will be a matter of avoiding all the complexities that come with it, for example by working with an orchestration / brokerage partner that takes responsibility for the area. After all, it’s the simplicity of Cloud that is appealing, not the hassle.

3.    New business areas = Cloud.  It’s a simple rule of thumb: whatever is new, both in terms of business activities as in IT projects, is very likely to be suitable for (public) Cloud. Where Cloud is already a default, de facto standard and no-brainer for any start-up company, it now also is becoming the norm to support ‘edge’ business areas such as customer experience management, human capital management, collaborative procurement and innovation management. Even so, new IT projects that leverage mobility, Big Data and social solutions will combine naturally with Cloud. So when caution and carefulness turn out to be Cloud passion killers, here are the areas where you most likely will find ways to break inertia.

I hope you find our report useful, on your road towards cloudification. Let us know what you think.

* In the case of AWS, the bulk of the conference audience is ostensibly tech-oriented, though. For now, it’s the IT department that does business with Amazon.