Cloud computing has been a widespread technology for nearly a decade now, helping organizations of all sizes and industries become a bit more efficient in their management of collaboration solutions, infrastructure and more. When it first hit the market, the cloud was hailed for its ability to level the playing field between larger enterprises and small businesses, as the costs associated with the services were lower and more spread-out than traditional legacy IT.
In the time since, cloud services have evolved significantly across a wider range of business processes than the initial uses that focused mostly on data storage, backup and disaster recovery. One example is the increasing prevalence of unified communications that are based or hosted in cloud computing environments, including Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems, video conferencing software, enterprise messaging tools and more.
Reports indicate that the cloud and UC markets are experiencing significant growth, and given the fact that each component of information and communications technology is becoming more intertwined as time goes on, it is likely that firms will continue to migrate their collaborative assets into these environments. Small business owners will often have the most to gain from this approach to UC and general IT management, though mid-sized and larger enterprises can benefit as well.
A look at the cloud market International Data Corporation recently reported that the global cloud infrastructure market is set to enjoy significant growth in 2015 compared to 2014, despite the fact that it has already seen massive increases in investments throughout each of the past several years. According to the analysts, overall cloud spending will be 24.1 percent higher this year compared to last, driven by public models specifically which are set to expand by 29.6 percent.
Private models are also increasing, but at a slower pace, which the researchers estimated to be roughly 15.8 percent year-over-year, propelling that segment to a $12.1 billion size by the end of 2015. As a note, private cloud investments are most commonly made due to fears about security, but recent research has shown that public options can be just as defensively sound as any other approach to infrastructure.
"Numerous IDC surveys indicate growing interest among enterprise customers to cloud deployments across multiple IT domains," Natalya Yezhkova, IDC Storage Systems research director, explained. "End users often cite the agility of IT infrastructure and economic reasons as drivers for cloud adoption, but we also expect that the proliferation of next generation applications born and run in the cloud will fuel its further growth."
As a note, this is compared to the forecast 1.6 percent drop in spending on any other type of infrastructure, most of which would be traditional, on-premise legacy systems.
UC market rising Late last month, Grand View Research released a study that estimated global expenditures on UC technologies will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 16.3 percent between 2014 and 2020, at which time roughly $75.8 billion will be spent on the services annually. The researchers pointed out that the availability of and growing demand for UC-as-a-service, which essentially shifts the tools into hosted environments provided by managed services vendors, will play a major role in the expanding demand.
Small business owners who have not yet considered the prospect of leveraging cloud-based UC solutions should do so soon, as these tools can take strain off of in-house employees and improve the functionality and reliability of the technologies in use. Working with a service provider that can specialize the tools to suit specific needs will often be the most financially and operationally advantageous option.