Public cloud services are gradually gaining acceptance in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), with total market value expected to reach $386 million (excluding Russia) in 2015, according to a cloud market report series published by International Data Corporation (IDC). Software as a service (SaaS) represents the largest category (69.0% market share forecast) due to perceived advantages such as transparent costs and wide range of soft benefits, including user experience, multiplatform access, and enhanced collaboration.
IDC’s analysis of public cloud-related demand indicates that, over the next five years, expenditures on Infrastructure as a services (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are going to triple, while SaaS spending will double. Current cloud adoption by workload varies, with collaboration, content, and CRM leading the way, although future uptake will also favor traditional ERP applications, particularly PPM and HRM.
Multinational cloud providers such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services have established a solid presence in the CEE region, and the market is increasingly populated by dozens of lesser known international SaaS providers. In spite of a competitive environment that includes Workday, Zoho, Sopra Steria (HR Access), SugarCRM, Netsuite, and Qualys, local players such as Unicorn Universe are finding sufficient market share to thrive.
Public cloud is not the holy grail of technology delivery, although it does present a powerful solution for those who seek scalability and agility and are not restrained by a strict regulatory environment. Cloud solutions can be advantageous for small start-ups and dynamic firms that do not have predictable cash flows. “The real power of public cloud stems from integration with other sources of technology delivery, be it traditional on premise or private cloud, as it augments options for application delivery,” says Vladimir Kroa, head of IDC’s IT Business Services and Solutions program in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region. “Users can opt to keep sensitive workloads on premise or in private cloud, while other, less sensitive applications can be migrated to public cloud.”
It is clear that cloud technology has created a disruption in traditional delivery models. It remains to be seen how ITS providers can recast that disruption into an opportunity and competitive advantage. “By all means, agile service providers of tomorrow will have to build cloud solutions into their portfolio, but they should not present the public cloud delivery model in isolation. On the contrary, a holistic approach to cloud must be able to answer clients’ needs for security, privacy, and integration,” adds Kroa.