Cloud Monitor 2021: Cloud computing continues to gain significance

Cloud Monitor 2021
| 5 min read

Where do companies stand in terms of cloud computing? What trends are emerging in usage and what strategic issues are decision-makers concerned with in terms of digital transformation? The Cloud Monitor 2021 provides insights into the status quo of German companies – we have summarized the most important study results for you.


Cloud computing is becoming increasingly important for the economy: Only a few organizations (three percent) are not yet dealing with the use of the digital technology, which enables the outsourcing of software, storage space or computing power to private or public data networks – not even in the midst of the pandemic. The vast majority of companies are already one step ahead and are increasingly looking at ideal application scenarios as well as their integration and transformation into a cloud-based company. This is one of the key findings of the Cloud Monitor 2021 – a survey conducted by the digital association Bitkom on behalf of KPMG.


Cloud use grows in volume and territory

Increased use of new technologies, more collaboration, optimized processes: The cloud has already been shaping the IT infrastructure of companies for years. During the current pandemic, however, the technology has become even more relevant at a very high level. According to Cloud Monitor, even companies that had been previously hesitant about taking the step to the cloud have implemented the migration in the short term. Others that had already introduced cloud-based solutions accelerated cloud integration projects or brought them forward. With the result that four out of five organizations surveyed (82 percent) are now using cloud computing – a six percent growth year-over-year.

An additional 15 percent of organizations surveyed are currently still in the information phase and planning or discussing possible adoption. "During the Corona pandemic, many companies have once again recognized the advantages of cloud applications, which enable them to work from remote environments without any problems," says Lukas Gentemann, Senior Research Consultant at Bitkom Research, commenting on the study results. On top of this, as in previous years, there is still the increased digitization in many companies, which is driving the need for scalable IT applications.


Cloud benefits acknowledged for digitization and automation

When it comes to the digitization of their company, nine out of ten decision-makers (88 percent) attribute a rather large to very large contribution to technology. By comparison, this figure came in at just 77 percent in 2019. The respondents see the greatest added value in the digitization of internal processes and the automation of workflows. In addition, three quarters each consider cloud computing to have a rather great to very great influence on better collaboration between business and IT departments (78 percent) and the establishment of platforms for flexible cooperation with third parties (75 percent).

The companies are less agreed on the question of what influence the cloud has on the development of digital business models. While one half of the decision-makers (48 percent) speak of a rather large to very large contribution, the other perceives a rather small to no influence (47 percent). This may be due to the fact that not all companies are aiming for cloud-based business models.


Strategic business goals: Cloud-only, cloud-first or cloud-too?

According to Cloud Monitor, six out of ten user companies have a cloud transformation strategy, with the proportion being much higher among large enterprises. The strategies used for cloud adoption vary: One in three user companies (31 percent) relies on a cloud-first strategy. Here, existing systems are migrated to the cloud as required and new IT projects are preferred, but not necessarily implemented in the cloud. One in four of the organizations surveyed (24 percent) is implementing a cloud-too-strategy, in which existing data, applications and systems are supplemented by cloud computing in isolated cases, but not replaced. In contrast, only a minority of five percent are pursuing a cloud-only strategy - all systems and applications are to move to the cloud in the medium to long term.


Cloud transformation level in 2025

In addition to the targets mentioned, the Cloud Monitor provides an overview of the time frame within which cloud migrations or integrations are to be realized. On average, user companies plan to run about half of their productive applications (52 percent) in the cloud by 2025. This shows that cloud computing is not only being used by an increasing number of companies. At the same time, the technology is making its way more comprehensively into the IT infrastructure of organizations. Large companies with at least 2,000 employees rate their own degree of transformation particularly highly: in four years, they already want to run three quarters of their productive applications from the cloud. Medium-sized companies should bear this in mind and accelerate their own transformation process in order to remain competitive.


Existing concerns: Security and unclear legal situation

Almost two out of three companies (63 percent) now use private cloud solutions, while 46 percent rely on public cloud computing. The trend is moving toward multi-cloud computing: in order to benefit from the advantages of different providers, one in three companies no longer uses solutions individually – they use several private and public cloud applications simultaneously.

However, there are still security concerns, particularly with regard to public cloud use: Companies that have so far refrained from using such a solution fear above all unauthorized access to sensitive company data. Three quarters of respondents (75 percent) justify their reluctance with these concerns.

Another obstacle for the majority of respondents (67 percent) is the lack of clarity regarding the legal situation – and the trend is rising. Last year, only 60 percent expressed this concern.

According to the study authors, the concerns are to be taken seriously, but are partly unfounded. Public cloud providers have greatly upgraded to meet the latest standards in data security and GDPR compliance. For interested companies, security certificates are an important first indicator that transparently demonstrate how public cloud providers deal with the issue of security.


A retrospective look at the status quo ten years ago shows how emphatically cloud computing has made its way into the economy: At that time, according to the first Cloud Monitor in 2011, the proportion of user companies was only 28 percent. This figure has since tripled.


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