As we prepare to release our second report, this one on mobility and cloud platforms, here’s a look at the folks who took the survey behind the story.

This report, the second in a series of papers that analyze the strategic adoption of cloud computing, is based upon a global survey of 200 senior business and IT executives, conducted in December 2012 and January 2013. The largest group of respondents (16%) came from the US, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico, and the UK (13% each); Germany (10%); Canada (9%); China (6%); Japan (4%); Australia (3%); and Saudi Arabia (3%). Respondents came from five industries: retail (29%), consumer products (28%), banking (25%), telecommunications (13%), and capital markets (7%). More than one-quarter of respondent companies had sales between $1 billion and $4.9 billion. Larger companies made a significant showing, with 10% of respondents reporting sales between $5 billion and $9.9 billion, and 12% over $10 billion. Small and mid-size firms also were well represented: Nearly one in five respondents had sales of $25 million to $99 million, while 18% had sales between $100 million and $499 million, and 14% weighed in between $500 million and $999 million. Chief Executive Officers made up the largest group of respondents (25%), followed by IT infrastructure managers (19%), business unit heads (15%), and Chief Intelligence Officers (13%). Other titles included Chief Operating Officers (8%) and Chief Innovation Officers (7%), along with Developers, Chief Architects, and EVP/SVP of Technology, Operations, and Marketing.

With the imminent release of our second research paper — this one on mobility and PaaS — it seems like a good moment to look at the composition of our global survey, on which our papers are built.

  • 200 senior business and IT executives were surveyed.
  • The largest group of respondents, 16%, came from the US, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico, and the UK, with 13% each; Germany (10%); Canada (9%); China (6%); Japan (4%); Australia (3%); and Saudi Arabia (3%).
  • Respondents came from several industries, including retail (28.5%), consumer products (28%), banking (25%), telecommunications (13%), and capital markets (7%).
  • More than one-quarter of respondents (27%) said their company had sales between $1 billion and $4.9 billion. Larger companies made a significant showing, with 10% of respondents reporting sales between $5 billion and $9.9 billion, and 12% reported over $10 billion in revenue. Small and mid-sized firms also were well represented. Nearly one in five respondents (19%) had sales of $25 million to $99 million, while 18% had sales between $100 million and $499 million, and 14% weighed in between $500 million and $999 million.
  • CEOs made up the largest group of respondents (25%), followed by IT infrastructure managers (19%), business unit heads (15%), and CIOs (13%). Other titles represented include COO (8%) and Chief Innovation Officer (7%), along with Developers, Chief Architects, and EVP/SVP of Technology, Operations, and Marketing.

We’ve looked at these statistics before, but the graphic representation from our paper really brings home the story of cloud adoption to date and in the years to come.

Our global survey shows that planned adoption rates will bring rapid growth of cloud platforms across multiple functions in the next three years, resulting in some functions being mostly cloud-based.

Use of cloud platforms today varies across key business functions, with substantial usage across the board but no functions yet mostly cloud-based.

Today, the leaders include Marketing (mostly cloud-based 27%, somewhat cloud-based 46%, minimally cloud-based 28%), Sales, Purchasing, and Innovation/R&D. These are followed by Finance and Supply Chain, with HR bringing up the rear.

Usage of cloud-based platforms in three years will be led by Marketing (mostly cloud-based 62%, somewhat cloud-based 27%, minimally cloud-based 12%), Sales, and Innovation/R&D, followed by Supply Chain, Finance, Purchasing, and big mover HR, which will go from today’s mostly cloud-based 12%, somewhat cloud-based 39%, minimally cloud-based 50% to mostly cloud-based 44%, somewhat cloud-based 36%, minimally cloud-based 20%.

Our global survey shows companies using Platform-as-a-Service technology in a variety of ways to serve customers.

  • Well over half of respondents collaborate with partners to create new products and services (58%)
  • 57% collaborate with partners to build and host applications for customer service
  • 54% collaborate with partners to build and host applications for business collaboration
  • 43% use the cloud environment to extend access to or features of existing offerings
  • 38% integrate with business partners via public APIs.
  • Less than 10% do not use Platform as a Service technology to serve customers.

Our global survey shows that new business opportunities are proliferating in the cloud, and new markets are being tapped.

  • Over half of respondents have developed new products via the cloud, while 41% have developed new lines of business and more than one-third have entered new markets.
  • Looking ahead, a large majority of companies say they will develop new products and lines of business, and enter new markets in the next three years.
  • Jjust 13% say they have no plans to enter new markets in that time, and fewer than 10% have no plans to develop new products or lines of business.

Respondents to our global survey of business and IT execs expect the cloud to make business more efficient and less costly to conduct, more innovative and more productive, and to lead to increased revenue .

Adoption of the cloud is expected to have a large positive impact across a range of business activities.

  • Productivity increases are keenly anticipated as a benefit of the cloud, with nearly four out of five respondents (79%) expecting high or significant improvement.
  • Both innovation and speed and efficiency of processes are expected to deliver high or significant improvement by over two-thirds of respondents.

Our global survey of 200 business and IT execs shows that the cloud plays a prominent role in business strategy and objectives.

  • More than half of respondents use the cloud to innovate quickly and meet rapidly changing market needs in real time, while just under half use the cloud to better manage and analyze big data and for custom development of new applications.
  • Nearly as many (46%) have a “cloud first “or “cloud only” strategy with regard to new software, and 45% support developers with Platform as a Service resources.
  • A smaller but still significant number, 39%, use the cloud to collaborate with partners, suppliers, and/or customers, and 38% use it to develop and deploy new business models.
  • Better than one in five respondents subscribes to SaaS offerings.
  • Just 16% use cloud computing only for cost and efficiency purposes, while 10% say they are not using cloud computing for strategic ends and a scant 6% say cloud computing is not a part of their business strategy.

Our survey showed some key variations in cloud and cloud platform adoption and usage around the world. Among those are:

  • Respondents from Latin America are significantly more likely than other regions to have Finance and HR functions as mostly cloud based (40% and 28%, respectively).
  • Respondents from Asia Pacific are significantly more likely than other regions to have access to customer information anytime, anywhere for their internal mobile cloud strategy (80% vs. 56% overall) and to focus on smart-phone adoption trends (76% vs. 54% overall).
  • Respondents from Latin America and EMEA are significantly more likely than those in North America and Asia Pacific to believe that sprawl and redundancy of cloud services are a top three challenge to cloud computing (38% vs. 24%).
  • Respondents from Asia Pacific and EMEA are significantly more likely than those in the Americas to build and host applications for business collaboration (68% vs. 41%).
  • Respondents from Latin America are significantly less likely to be concerned about either data security/IP risk or financial risk with regard to cloud computing (36% and 18%, respectively).
  • Respondents from North America are significantly less likely to have developed new cloud-based offerings for mobile applications (45% vs. 66% elsewhere) and to have focused on the proliferation of apps for mobile cloud computing (38% vs. 63% elsewhere).