Cloud adoption among Australian organisations increased to about 58 per cent from 43 per cent last year, according to an annual survey conducted by VMWare and Forrester Consulting.
Another 57 per cent of Australian organisations are making plans to adopt Cloud-based solutions or approaches, within the next 18 months, showing Cloud continues to be a high priority for Australian business, the survey revealed.
The survey, built into Annual Cloud Maturity Index, questioned 6,500 business decision-makers across Asia Pacific and included 656 respondents in Australia across multiple vertical sectors in September and October 2012.
Out of the 58 per cent of Australian organisations which have already adopted Cloud computing, more than three quarters have only done so in the last three years, according to the survey.
Competitive advantage was cited as a major factor in Cloud adoption, with 62 per cent of Australian organisations believing that failure to pursue Cloud initiatives would put them at risk of falling behind competitors -- a figure which rises to nearly 70 per cent for the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Businesses also see Cloud enabling a broad range of benefits: 74 per cent of Australian organisations believe the Cloud can help simplify access to IT resources while 74 per cent see increased workforce mobility and flexibility as a major enabler for business. Optimisation of existing IT management and automation, reduced IT costs, and increased market competitiveness were also identified as key benefits by the majority of organisations.
"Business leaders both in Australia and around the Asia-Pacific region are realising the numerous benefits of Cloud computing in how they pursue growth and differentiation," VMware Australia and New Zealand managing director, Duncan Bennet, said. "As organisations look to apply the Cloud more broadly across the business, we expect demand for management tools and VMware's wider software defined data centre vision to become more prevalent, as this capability really makes IT-as-a-service a reality."
Businesses are faced with a broader range of concerns around their use of Cloud. While data privacy, residency and 'loss of control' remain the most common concern for Australian organisations (at 71 per cent), a growing number cite systems integration (65 per cent), security (63 per cent) and availability or performance concerns (58 per cent) as barriers to adoption.
Bennet added: "As cloud computing continues to mature in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, it is expected to take on increasingly complex forms within business processes and structures. It falls to IT providers to deliver services and tools which go beyond individual cloud offerings, delivering instead a holistic approach to management and security across all aspects of deployment."
Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst, John Brand, said "Reducing costs is still an expected benefit by the majority of respondents. However, it's interesting to see that the use of automation with cloud computing is now viewed by more than 70 per cent of Australian respondents as being an expected benefit as well. Cloud computing is also seen to enable enhanced compliance and lower risk -- indicating that specialist service providers and hosting partners are indeed able to optimise the delivery of IT services in a more flexible way, particularly in supporting a changing workforce."
The VMware Cloud Index 2012 surveyed senior IT practitioners across the APJ region in eleven countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The survey was conducted in September and October 2012.