Cloud adoption is unarguably escalating, with revenue at giants like AWS and Microsoft Azure growing rapidly. AWS financials rose more than 55 per cent last year compared to 2015, while Azure is expected to deliver around $20 billion in 2018.

Mike South, product manager at Colt – which works closely with both AWS and Microsoft – is very positive about the effect that these companies and the cloud are having:

“In the UK, both cloud giants have recently brought data centres online, which – less than a year since the Brexit referendum sparked industry fears over tech giants investing in the country – suggests digital transformation initiatives are continuing unabated. Indeed, recent research conducted by Computing and Colt proposes that it’s difficult to overstate the momentum of the move to the cloud.

“Historically speaking, when the research was first conducted in 2013 more than two thirds of respondents were not using the cloud at all. But by 2016, 63 per cent had partial cloud adoption and in 2017, 20 per cent are now pursuing a “cloud-first” strategy. By 2019, 40 per cent expect to be doing so in line with digital aspirations.”

South continued: “To refer back to the Lord Mayor’s point, the scale of the compute power offered up by the cloud confers the level of agility that digital business requires, since making decisions on the back of historical data is no longer good enough. The cloud allows organisations to spin up the tools in minutes to turn unending quantities of unstructured data into decisions to put them at the forefront of the digital marketplace.

“But that decision-making takes place off campus, often in a data centre run by a third party, so accessing the data and acting on those decisions is now a critical consideration. However, enterprise networking is still largely based on a traditional model, similar to the enterprise IT market before the cloud. Lead times are still measured in weeks, bandwidths are fixed and configuration changes need to be manually requested.”

Colt CEO Carl Grivner drew attention to a common concern that cloud customers have – that of vendor lock-in – while emphasising the value of agility.

“In 2012, only seven per cent of respondents were concerned with being locked into a single cloud vendor. In 2015 that figure reached 22 per cent – the third-biggest concern behind data security and governance. What this suggests is that enterprises value agility and the ability to move between best of breed cloud and data centre providers when it suits them. Indeed, 68 per cent of companies identify agility as one of their most important initiatives when considering digital transformation. This echoes the advice of global analyst houses such as Gartner who implore enterprises to value agility when evaluating network options.”