While you’d probably consider cloud computing to be a well-established phenomenon, many UK organisations are still in their early stages of rolling out the technology. Research by Redcentric has revealed that 41% of IT managers surveyed are still taking their first tentative steps towards implementing cloud services. Adopting new technology is bound to bring about a certain amount of fear and doubt, but our research suggests that cautiousness may well be holding back organisations.

We questioned organisations on what stage they were at in cloud adoption and found that just 32% have reached the half-way point in the process of rolling out cloud services. Only 11% can see the end-point in sight and just 3% have arrived at their final cloud destination. It appears to be more commonplace for UK organisations to be in the primary stages of implementing the cloud than we first expected. Given this slower than expected adoption rates and the insight into attitudes to cloud, we identified that organisations typically fall into five personas when it comes to their journey to the cloud:

1. Evolutionary

These IT managers are taking a steady approach to cloud implementation. They are employing the cloud in situations where it is a natural progression for the business to do so. Half (50%) of UK IT managers are taking this evolutionary approach.

2. Accelerators

These are the keenest IT managers who want the move to the cloud as quickly as possible. 16% of UK IT managers are accelerators and have the desire for a prompt cloud roll-out.

3. Progressives

Some IT managers do want to use the cloud to make bold business changes. 16% of UK IT managers consider themselves to be progressives and see it as an innovative way of revolutionising and improving the organisation.

4. Cautionaries

Cloud has its sceptics. 15% of IT managers are cynical about cloud, with issues such as security causing them concern. This can make the decision to move to the cloud a tentative one.

5. Experimenters

There are few IT managers who are willing to accept the ups and downs of moving to the cloud. Only 4% of IT managers take this approach and experiment with different ways of developing the cloud.

Evidently, ‘playing it safe’ is quite a common state for IT managers implementing the cloud, sticking to steady developments and avoiding extreme progression. It is surprising that such a small percentage were identified as progressives who are willing to really take innovation benefits of the cloud into the heart of their organisations.

So what’s holding IT managers back or is it simply that, despite the marketing hype, IT managers are not convinced that the cloud is the best way to make bold business changes? It’s likely to be neither. In fact, the cloud in many ways has become ubiquitous. Rather than being considered to be the game changer it once was, now companies are using it to ‘run’ their businesses rather than employ it in radical circumstances. But does this mean that companies are missing out on the benefits that cloud can provide?

We asked organisations what motivated their move to the cloud? Cost-cutting was the most popular business driver for the public and private sector, scoring 65% and 55% respectively. 50% of the private sector cited improving business continuity and uptime as a driver, and 40% of the public sector agreed. Both business continuity and cost reductions are real life challenges faced by companies relying on technology but both ignore the innovation possibilities that cloud can support.

We also surveyed IT managers on what their ultimate cloud destination was. The most popular destination was using a mix of selective cloud services, scoring 63%, indicating that organisations are more likely to invest in hybrid cloud models. Only 8% of organisations intend to put everything in the cloud, showing organisations to once again prefer to err on the side of caution. Indeed, most respondents (65%) claimed that they had a ‘middle distance’ attitude to cloud, taking the form of a hybrid mix of on-premise and cloud services that will fluctuate and change over time.

22% said that they had a ‘short distance’ attitude, focusing on quick, tactical fixes, in contrast to 14% who viewed cloud as ‘long-distance’ or ‘transitional voyage’ for their organisation’s IT. These statistics tell a different story in terms of attitude to the cloud. While most organisations will use a mix of hybrid cloud services, the intention that the amount of data or applications in the cloud versus on premise will fluctuate means that it’s likely that IT will use cloud to support new projects that require more compute or even new markets that need new applications or data understanding – implying that cloud is there to support innovation.

The research has determined that there isn’t a single correct route to the cloud but clearly organisations should consider the business goals and aspirations that they have in order to get the full effects of the cloud. Organisations can also benefit from determining where they are in their cloud journey. They can benchmark themselves and ensure that they’re fully prepared for the next stage of the journey.

What’s interesting is that despite most UK organisations embracing the cloud, many have a significant way to go before the implementation is complete. That means there is a huge untapped potential still to be explored for both businesses and providers alike.