Straight from the horse’s mouth: top 5 cloud trends from across Europe

The current state of the IT industry is very prone to hype and distortion of all kinds. So there’s nothing quite like getting the latest insights straight from the horse’s mouth.

We asked 900 senior IT decision-makers from six European countries (Benelux, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, UK) a whole load of curious cloud questions. We received intriguing answers on everything from IT challenges, roles and budgets, to levels of innovation, application updates and DevOps adoption.

What did we learn?

Here’s the top 5 trends we identified in IT departments in Europe.

1) Time spent on innovation is increasing, but still needs to improve

The time spent on innovation has risen from 9 per cent in 2015 (as per our previous research report) to 11 per cent in 2016. This is crucial, as it is through innovation that IT departments can contribute directly to the business by differentiating it in the marketplace.

Interestingly, French IT departments spend the most time on innovation, approximately 50% more than UK IT departments.

However, time spent on innovation is still much lower than that spent on other issues that don’t add business value, e.g. general maintenance and responding to user problems (27 per cent).

It’s clear that to maximise the business advantage that can be gleaned from IT, CEOs and CIOs are going to have make more space – either in terms of time or resources. They realise this – 47% of European IT leaders feel the management in their organisation has the patience to support and advance ideas along the innovation cycle – but have yet to turn these ambitions into action.

2) DevOps adoption is rising, a change which is linked to increased public cloud adoption

32 per cent of organisations across Europe have implemented a DevOps approach, up from 26 per cent in our 2015 report.

On the national level, Europe seems split into progressives and conservatives: DevOps adoption rates in the UK (26 per cent), Germany (28 per cent) and Portugal (28 per cent) trail those reported in Benelux and France (44 per cent and 38 per cent respectively) substantially.

The overall increased DevOps adoption, however, is driving up the average frequency of application updates and, consequently, the overall quality of applications: 34 per cent of respondents stated that they are updating their applications more frequently than a year ago.

Customer-facing applications are being updated the most. These apps are also the most likely to be hosted in the public cloud, which suggests a potentially causal correlation between DevOps adoption and the rise of the public cloud.

Expect more of both in the future!

3) Top IT challenges

What problems are keeping top IT leaders up at night?

The top IT challenges in 2016 were, in reverse order:

5) Increasing complexity

The upkeep of the 24/7 business, more stakeholder pressure, and new technologies and processes ensure that the role of the IT department is increasingly complex.

4) Mobility and the consumerisation of IT

Increasingly business is not conducted on desktops in offices, and employees are choosing to use their own devices.

3) Improving/optimising IT

With technology changing more rapidly than ever before, it remains vital that businesses have access to cost-efficient, performant and reliable platforms.

2) Ensuring IT supports a fast-changing business

The success of a business has never been so reliant on its use of IT. IT leaders need to drive and support innovation in a fast-changing business.

1) Security

This is the biggest IT challenge faced by European IT decision-makers, and it is set to remain the top challenge in five years’ time.

But are they right to worry?

4) IT skills changes

IT departments are assuming more strategically important roles within their organisations. The kinds of skills that are needed in the IT department are shifting as the industry itself changes.
More and more, they are seeking to align themselves with core business objectives and add value directly to the business. Less and less time, accordingly, is being spent on the more traditional IT roles of troubleshooting and firefighting – activities that, while important, do not take the business forwards.

Some numbers: by 2021 application development and data analysis skills are set for the biggest increases in desirability (9% and 7% respectively). Technical expertise and support-desk skills are set to see the largest decreases in desirability by 2021 (10% and 11% respectively). Lastly, technical expertise is currently the skill most desired in an IT professional, while by 2021 this will be security and compliance.

These trends are incredibly important for forward-looking employees who want to stay ahead of the curve in terms of skill sets as the changes.

5) Spend on IT services providers is changing

IT services providers are being used, at least to some extent, by 96 per cent of European organisations.

Given such broad usage, share of wallet is a useful metric by which to judge the real extent of how much organisations rely on IT services providers. On average, 16% of IT department budgets are spent on IT services providers, which is an increase from 13% in 2015, with these figures set to increase to 20% by 2021.

What organisations are looking for from a services provider – and what is driving this change – is chiefly the desire to increase efficiency, to improve the core business, a shortage of internal IT resources, a shortage of the required skills and to drive innovation.

Generally speaking, our respondents favoured IT services providers that actively engaged with and supported them, rather than more passive and transactional partners.

Don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth

Our research delves into a whole host of cloud computing issues on a country-by-country basis. Read the full research report here:

Read research report