In October 2012, we had predicted that the market for Cloud based IT Services would reach $ 72.0 Billion by 2015. Fast forward to 2016 and the outlook is far more buoyant. IDC now forecasts that the worldwide public IT Cloud Service spend will reach $ 141.2 Billion by 2019, and will grow at a rate of 19.4% year on year which is almost 6x the rate of growth of the overall IT Spend growth.
So what is causing all this inertia and what do we see happening in the UAE and the Middle East region? When we first started selling Cloud based IT Services in 2007, most businesses in the region were afraid to adopt to new technologies even though we demonstrated the cost, and reliable benefits that the cloud offers. There were 3 mains points of contention:
- Data residing at an external data center
- The idea of having to pay a monthly subscription fee (even though this was a more effective use of a company’s cash flow instead of comparing this against the outlay of a one-time capex to procure the same services)
- An IT Manager’s fear of the cloud removing his function in an organization
So what’s changed 3 years later? Not much. To put it in perspective:
- Data still resides at an external data center
- Opex is still better than Capex keeping in mind that you can turn off or scale the Opex to meet the objectives of the business
- IT Managers role still exists in organizations. However, their role has changed and is mostly focused on improving or transforming business processes. The forward thinking IT Manager has embraced the cloud and sees the opportunities in redeploying his skill sets into a new era IT Manager role.
But there’s more. In 2012, the number of vendors offering cloud based versions of their applications was far less than what it is today. Today, most vendors such as: Microsoft, Adobe, Acronis, Symantec, Trend Micro offer Cloud versions of their applications, thus providing more choice to businesses, and with more to come on a daily basis.
The Cloud is here to stay and it’s time for all businesses to re-consider their IT needs. In subsequent articles, we will explore specific options and the best packages available for SME’s across the region.