Use of cloud computing in Norway has more than doubled over the last year. More than 35% of public sector bodies and private sector companies now use 'Software as a service' (SaaS), as compared to just 14% this time last year. These findings come from the 'IT in Practice' survey carried out by Rambøll in collaboration with EDB ErgoGroup.
"The last 12 months have seen growth that has outstripped many people's expectation by a surprisingly wide margin. Even so, there are still many barriers and challenges that have so far prevented the majority of users from taking advantage of cloud computing", comments Terje Mjøs, CEO of EDB ErgoGroup. He goes on to identify control over the user's own data and integration as the main issues when private sector companies and public sector organisations first consider using cloud computing. "The way the authorities go about regulating the cloud arena, including issues such as information security, will play an important role in setting the parameters by which we operate as a supplier", explains Terje Mjøs, who mentions that recent developments in Denmark, where the Council for Greater IT Security has advised the public sector against using cloud computing, have also sparked a debate in Norway.
Software has the lowest threshold for cloud computing
Software as a service (SaaS) is the most used aspect of cloud computing, while platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are only used to a lesser extent. 14% of respondents said that they were using PaaS, while 13% were using IaaS. "The threshold for using software as a service is significantly lower because this can be used on a stand-alone basis or be restricted to particular areas of service. It takes a very high level of technological maturity combined with a comprehensive and well thought through outsourcing strategy before an organisation is ready to use cloud computing for major parts of its platforms and infrastructure", explains Terje Mjøs.
Highest usage levels in the private sector
The highest levels of usage for cloud computing are seen in the private sector, but usage in the public sector is also growing strongly. 33% of the public sector organisations in the survey reported using software as a service, up from just 11% a year ago. Private sector usage showed an increase from 17% last year to 38% this year. 14% of public sector respondents and 19% of private-sector respondents said that they intended to start using software as a service over the course of the next three years.
"In order for growth to continue at the pace we have seen over the last year, it is essential that the IT industry succeeds in creating greater confidence in the technology, and is able to demonstrate successful examples of cloud-based deliveries", says Terje Mjøs, who adds: "An important factor for success in the Norwegian market will be for suppliers to operate the cloud locally so that customers' data remains in Norway. At the same time, a well-documented history of expertise in secure and reliable data storage will be key to winning customers' trust".
Storms in the cloud and the role of the IT consultant as the weather forecaster
Maintaining control over data and security to prevent data being compromised by third parties represent an important challenge for suppliers of cloud computing. 91% of public sector respondents and 83% of private-sector respondents identified this as the most important factor in deciding whether to use cloud computing. "Suppliers of cloud computing must be able to reassure their customers that the supplier has the expertise needed to use software and virtualisation to establish watertight walls between different businesses in the cloud, and that the supplier can implement user management and access control that is 100% reliable. Users want to be reassured that cloud computing is secure and reliable. Storms in the cloud will keep users indoors, where they are today", explains Terje Mjøs, who adds: "Many customers will need extensive assistance to position themselves in a cloud computing world, and this means that IT consultants will increasingly become a kind of IT weather forecaster. This is something that we call 'Cloud Consulting', and we see this area becoming ever more important as time goes on".
More about cloud computing
Cloud computing has emerged as a new trend for delivery of IT services over recent years. "Cloud computing refers to hosting everything from data processing and data storage through to software on servers in external server parks linked to the internet. Server parks used for cloud computing are designed to be dynamically scalable to respond to changing capacity demand, and users are normally charged on the basis of actual use" (translation from Wikipedia Norway).
The concept of cloud computing includes:
Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) - applications that are hosted on cloud infrastructure and accessed by users from a thin client (for example an internet browser)
Cloud Platform as a Service (Paas) - a platform for the development, hosting and operation of applications that is implemented on a cloud infrastructure
Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - scalable infrastructure (computing power, data storage, and networks) provided on demand for the installation and operation of the customer's own applications.
More about the IT in Practice report
IT in Practice 2011 is based on a questionnaire survey of the 500 largest private sector companies and public sector bodies in Norway. The survey was carried out by Rambøll Management Consulting in collaboration with EDB ErgoGroup, the largest IT services company in Norway.