Multinational corporations (MNCs) have increased their uptake of cloud services by 60 per cent in the past 12 months, according to new Ovum report entitled What MNCs want: adoption of cloud services.
The survey questioned senior managers at 102 multinationals, each with at least three locations in different countries, and a minimum of 10,000 employees.
Some 45 per cent of multinationals are using the cloud for at least some element of their key IT services, the study found.
"We believe the majority of MNCs are currently between early and adolescent adoption phases of cloud-based services, with broader and deeper adoption being contemplated," said Evan Kirchheimer, practice leader, enterprise services, Ovum.
"Greater adoption is dependent on the resolution of security, governance and reliability."
Kirchheimer predicted that it would take between six and 10 years for the cloud to become multinationals' primary ICT delivery method.
At a briefing today to discuss the results, Kirchheimer said the research suggested that advanced managed networking services were more popular in Europe than in North America, where enterprises have a more "do it yourself attitude" to networks.
The survey also indicated that in the past 12 months trust in telecoms companies to provide robust enterprise cloud services has increased.
In April 2010, 37 per cent of multinationals believed telcos to be a credible supplier, whereas by April 2011 it was 49 per cent.
"Although IT service providers are ahead in cloud computing, what is surprising is how decently telecoms companies have scored, given that they are not typically known as cloud providers," said Kirchheimer.
Scalability of capacity and matching capacity to user demand were highlighted as the primary benefits of using cloud services.
However, Kirchheimer pointed to industry-specific results that were perhaps more noteworthy.
"What is interesting here is that improved employee productivity, as a benefit, was rated highest by financial services and professional services firms," he said.
"It seems companies that are spending the most on IT, are those with really expensive employees. Financial and professional services firms hire people who are not cheap," he added.
"It is not surprising that these companies are thinking about how they can improve employee productivity through smarter use of IT."
Kirchheimer suggested that productivity would be improved by streamlining IT for the "very expensive" IT departments, and also for employees, who are likely to become more mobile if applications are delivered within a cloud architecture.