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Updated by Charles Bystock on 12/28/2015

IT sourcing advisors

There is no doubt that the adoption of a cloud strategy has become a key component of many organizations. A robust cloud strategy can, among other things, significantly lower IT costs, improve strategic allocation of IT budgets, and increase revenue.

Whether adopting cloud strategy is part of your future plans, it's something you have only recently dipped your toe into, or is part of your ongoing strategy, attaining a better and more optimized strategy will significantly improve your results.

A Look at the Cloud Adoption Landscape

In 2014, IDC surveyed over 19,000 enterprise executives in charge of IT decisions to paint the picture of how they have adopted cloud solutions. Of the total number of respondents, 50% of them currently use or are planning to implement some form of cloud.

A closer look at those companies currently making use of some form of cloud, IDC evaluated their use on a maturity scale ranging from ad hoc use with little thought, a repeatable and effective strategy, to optimized.

Mature Cloud Adopters Achieve Massive Benefits

Companies that have adopted strategic and optimized cloud solutions had experienced an average increase of $1.6 million in revenue per application deployed and have achieved $1.2 million in cost reduction. Some of the ways in which these financial benefits have been achieved include:

Improved productivity: thanks to cloud, employees have reliable access to key applications anywhere and at any time, which allows them to make more efficient use of their time.

Better risk management: greater and more reliable access to applications reduces the associated costs of data recovery and unplanned downtime.

Greater agility: businesses can develop and launch applications faster with cloud, which lowers the costs of new products and services that are dependent on those applications.

The Value of Improving Cloud Maturity

IDC grouped enterprise cloud adopts into five distinct levels, based upon their maturity and sophistication. Enterprises further along the scale experienced significant benefit among several key performance indicators compared to those in the level below them. The levels are defined as follows:

Ad hoc: enterprises that have only begun to introduce cloud technology awareness options or have used cloud to meet an immediate need.

Opportunistic: companies that are testing cloud for short-term improvements in accessing IT resources or that consider cloud for isolated computing environments.

Compared to those at the ad hoc level, enterprises at the opportunistic level saw the following improvements: revenue growth of 0.1%, IT cost reduction of 13%, strategic allocation of IT budget of 16%, time to provision of 27% and meeting SLAs of 43%.

Repeatable: enterprises that have established some best practices and standards to achieve more agile access to resources and that are relying on self-serve portals to access services.

Compared to those at the ad hoc level, companies at the repeatable level saw the following improvements: revenue growth of 1.4%, IT cost reduction of 29%, strategic allocation of IT budget of 56%, time to provision of 47% and meeting SLAs of 63%.

Managed: implemented consistent cloud best practices company-wide and orchestrated service delivery across an integrated set of resources.

Compared to those at the ad hoc level, enterprises at the managed level saw the following improvements: revenue growth of 4.0%, IT cost reduction of 48%, strategic allocation of IT budget of 100%, time to provision of 76% and meeting SLAs of 69%.

Optimized: enterprises that achieve transparent access to IT capability, based on value to business, and transparent cost measures to drive business innovation and deliver leading IT-enabled products and services via internal and external sources.

Compared to those at the ad hoc level, enterprises at the optimized level saw the following improvements: revenue growth of 0.4%, IT cost reduction of 77%, strategic allocation of IT budget of 200%, time to provision of 99% and meeting SLAs of 72%.

With these supporting statistics on improving KPIs, it becomes clear that achieving a cloud solution that is as optimized as possible will yield the best results for enterprises.