Cloud remains a long-term investment priority for 70% of major corporations, despite current macro headwinds and the recent slowing of growth of global cloud spending.
That's the findings of the latest survey from Tata Consultancy Services of senior business leaders worldwide, Connected Future: How Cloud Drives Business Innovation.
The global survey of approximately 1,000 senior executives reveals that innovation is a major driver of cloud investment, with 59% reporting that cloud is crucial as a catalyst for innovation for their organisation's future.
This appears particularly true for artificial intelligence (AI): 75% of respondents invested in AI and machine learning capabilities over the past two years, while 78% plan to do so over the coming 12-24 months. Both technologies are highly dependent on access to large amounts of data and scalability through cloud.
Interestingly, more than a third of respondents (37%) have made progress in their goals for cloud-enabled innovation in the form of new business models, underlining the growing power of cloud to drive new revenue.
In addition, the study also finds a clear majority of businesses – 67% are using cloud technologies to achieve sustainability goals. However, 43% report difficulty in understanding the carbon footprints of cloud service providers. This suggests that while most respondents see cloud as an important – and thus far successful – part of their sustainability strategy, and increasingly use cloud tools to assess their own carbon impact, they are now demanding the same visibility from their cloud service providers.
Overall, despite significant progress in recent years, the study reveals that businesses still have a long way to go to unlock the full power and potential of cloud.
Other key findings include:
Industry clouds or vertical clouds are rapidly emerging as a fast path to acquiring greater business expertise and capabilities, with an overwhelming majority of organisations surveyed (73%) reporting that they are already assessing, adopting, or using them in business today.
Companies want to participate in digital ecosystems, but most are still far from realising their full value: 66% of businesses are still in the earliest stages of transition towards mature digital ecosystems.
Critical skills shortages continue to affect businesses in the cloud space, with over half (up to 52%) of respondents reporting a lack of full cloud proficiencies in-house.
"This latest global study strongly affirms that there is no business strategy without a cloud strategy. A desire for greater efficiency, resilience, and flexibility drove early cloud adoption, and these remain critical factors," says Krishnan Ramanujam, President, Enterprise Growth Group, TCS.
"Businesses now more fully understand how cloud drives business growth and innovation for the long-term, and for most, the journey is only just getting started."
Ramanujam says cloud is a frequent source of short-term ROI anxieties, but growth and transformation is a long game.
"Reconciling these two realities is a challenge and a necessity, but fully achievable with the right strategy and planning," he says.
"This is critical because cloud is now the unifying digital fabric of every enterprise, fuelling powerful technologies – from generative AI to edge and quantum computing – and is ushering the next wave of innovations now and into the future."
The 2023 TCS global Cloud Study surveyed 972 senior executives at companies exceeding $1 billion in annual revenue from multiple sectors across Asia, Europe and North America. A majority of the companies report annual revenues in excess of $5 billion. Individual markets surveyed include Continental Europe (Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg); UK & Ireland North America (USA, Canada, Mexico); APAC (India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand).