Cloud computing market will surpass $200 billion by 2018

The global cloud computing market is constantly expanding. Companies throughout various industries are adopting the technology to support key operations, replace aging equipment and promote employee collaboration on an organization-wide scale. A Transparency Market Research report indicated the industry was worth under $80 billion in 2011. By 2014, the sector had increased at a compound annual growth rate of more than 23 percent, totaling $149 billion. By 2018, this figure will reach more than $205 billion, good for a CAGR of 8.4 percent.

The incorporation of mobile devices is one of the most apparent developments shaping the cloud marketplace. Organizations with cloud environments enable employees using PCs, tablets and smartphones to access assets or communicate with co-workers, customers or clients. The research firm noted the mobile Software-as-a-Service segment was worth $1.2 billion in 2011. By 2018, this sector will achieve a CAGR of 25 percent.

In terms of SaaS, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Transparency Market Research reported all three will continue to improve through the end of the forecast period. SaaS in general was worth $12 billion in 2011 and, looking ahead, will grow at a faster rate than PaaS and IaaS through 2018.

Specific industries are embracing cloud computing
Certain industries are adopting cloud computing to improve their businesses. Transparency Market Research noted retailers are using SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, while a new IDC report indicated manufacturers are leveraging public and private models.

Kimberly Knickle, research director at IDC Manufacturing Insights, explained manufacturers are currently experiencing a "digital transformation" driven by the 3rd Platform, which includes social networking, big data, analytics and mobile computing, in addition to the cloud.

"Because of cloud's tremendous value in making IT resources available to the business based on business terms – speed, cost and accessibility – manufacturers must ensure that the line of business and IT management work together in defining their requirements," Knickle added.

The IDC survey discovered 68 percent of manufacturers are currently using private clouds for at least two applications, while 66 percent are doing the same with public solutions. In the United States, 41 percent of participants are accessing IT assets through public models. Respondents stated achieving more control over IT assets is a top driver behind their use of the cloud.

IDC asserted the technology will become the industry standard during the next decade, as businesses organically leverage the service or acquire companies that use the technology.

With market increasing, service providers will be called on
As the global cloud computing industry reaches new highs, it is easy to think that the businesses offering products to clients will see the most gains. But managed service providers also stand to benefit from this development, as these vendors act as a bridge between clients and companies selling solutions.

These service providers work closely with customers to understand their unique operations, end-user requirements and specific industries to make recommendations pertaining to IT investments. Businesses that have not adopted cloud computing up to this point should consider partnering with MSPs to select the most efficient, affordable and flexible cloud environment possible.

Reaching this point requires thorough planning and the right systems. MSPs that offer cloud readiness tools can satisfy their clients' cloud-related needs. These systems allow organizations to test how mission-critical assets will perform when transitioned to cloud environments before launch to identify any challenges that could harm efficiency.

With so many different models to choose from – public, private and hybrid – and the sheer number of products from vendors such as Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft – MSPs with cloud readiness tools can steer adopters in the right direction to maximize their investments.