Go ahead: Try to avoid conversation about the cloud. Odds are it will be impossible.

The cloud has evolved from a buzzword to an enterprise essential. But most companies have embraced the cloud a little too enthusiastically, a new study from Telstra shows.

Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, found a disconnect between cloud desires and realities. Specifically, more than seven out of 10 IT decision makers want to store all their data on a single cloud provider. But the majority instead use three vendors.

While more vendors theoretically reduce risks by creating redundancies, too many clouds — like too many cooks — spoil the soup of enterprise simplicity.

Mostly Cloudy

“Our research shows that 72 percent of IT decision makers would prefer a single provider or broker for all cloud services, then go through the challenge of managing multiple vendors,” said Martin Bishop, head of Network, Applications and Services at Telstra.

But slow down. It's not a great idea to jump exclusively on a single cloud network, Bishop added. What's the solution?

"The trend in 2015 appears to be towards a hybrid approach, delivered by a single partner, fully accountable for an organization's cloud services end-to-end,” he told CMSWire.

A hybrid cloud that can adjust on the fly and scale with the business offers multiple advantages.

Organizations that can align the power of hybrid cloud with customer demands are well placed to create what we're terming the customer-centric cloud. That enables more agile development and testing of applications, faster decision making, and overall, an enhanced customer experience,” he said.

It's About Time (and Money)

Cloud services fall under Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Telstra found that 45 percent of businesses have adopted at least one IaaS solution, and another 42 percent plan to adopt one.

Bishop noted that businesses without IaaS solutions will fall behind the competition. They will also lose time, money, time and the ability to use critical information and data to its full potential, crippling the business on multiple fronts.

“Each of these issues is important from an IT perspective, and also has significant implications for the wider business and end customers,” he said.

Industries that make wide use of IaaS solutions include manufacturing (61 percent), professional services (54 percent) and finance and insurance (46 percent).

One industry bucking this trend is higher education. More than 25 percent of  respondents from universities and colleges indicated they have no plan to implement an IaaS solution in the near future.

The International Way

The study found many businesses have global footprints. They are expanding to new and emerging markets to take advantage of lower costs, and in some cases, more relaxed business regulations.

Around half of respondents prefer a global IaaS provider, compared to 27 percent who prefer a local provider. Either way, "they see value in working with providers who are familiar with the various regulation, governance and legal considerations across the multiple markets they operate in." 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Napafloma-Photographe.