Cloud computing surveys generally look at the cloud industry so a new survey from Appirio is interesting in that it has surveyed the early adopters of cloud computing and SaaS (software as a service) to see how they view the state of the public cloud.

The survey shows cloud adopters view things differently. People who have adopted one or more cloud applications are more bullish on the technology and more aggressive in their near-term and long-term adoption plans than the overall market. Early adopters are downplaying problems like security risks, vendor lock-in and availability and reporting a change in the role of IT.

Key finds from the Appirio survey show:

  • 60%+ say cloud solutions are better than on-premise in availability, total cost of ownership (TCO), and time-to-value
  • 28% say cloud security is the #1 misconception about cloud solutions
  • 68% say they will have the majority of their applications and platforms in the public cloud in three years

IT sceptics have turned into believers. IT is seen as driving many of the misconceptions about the cloud, but IT is also becoming cloud computing’s biggest advocate:

  • 36% single out IT leadership as the primary driver of misconceptions about the cloud
  • 70% agree cloud solutions have changed the role of IT within their business
  • 79% of IT decision makers say they expect to drive future cloud decisions

Cloud computing impacts the business, not just IT costs. Companies say they’re implementing public cloud applications and platforms for business agility more than for just IT cost reduction, and report that cloud solutions are changing the way they run their business:

  • 59% say business agility was among their top 3 reasons to consider cloud solutions (vs. 47% for TCO reduction)
  • 83% agree cloud solutions have helped them “respond faster to the needs of the business”
  • 29% strongly agree that cloud solutions “have changed the way we run the business”
  • 39% say cloud adoption will be part of an overall business transformation going forward

Appirio outlines the methodology of the survey: “Our survey was in the field from Aug 11-25, 2010 and we had 155 responses representing 155 distinct companies. We focused on companies with over 500 employees who have currently deployed at least one market-leading SaaS/Cloud application (Google Gmail/Calendar, Success factors, Workday, Salesforce CRM,Oracle CRM On Demand, Microsoft Dynamics CRM On Demand, RightNow, Netsuite or a custom app on, Google App Engine or Windows Azure). Within these companies, we specifically focused on those who are either directly involved in or providing recommendations around cloud solution decisions.”