The results are based on a survey earlier this year of 727 senior IT managers and executives at firms in a range of industries worldwide with more than 1,000 employees, including about a quarter with more than 20,000 employees.
Over half said they have deployed a mix of internal private cloud, hosted private cloud and public cloud platforms, spending between $10 million to $100 million a year on cloud services.
Most said they expect to increase spending on cloud services in the years ahead, the survey found.
Among firms already in the cloud, 86% described their strategy as a multi-cloud approach, which included tapping multiple public and private clouds for different workloads, using cloud services in addition to on-premise infrastructure, or using multiple public clouds simultaneously.
Their reasons for signing on to multiple cloud services vary, from safeguarding data by backing it up in cloud storage services across different vendors, to taking advantage of different services offered by competing platforms, or simply as a bargaining chip for better prices in the cloud market.
A separate survey last year by IHS Markit Ltd., a London-based data and analytics research firm, found that midsize to large companies currently use an average of eight different cloud providers for various enterprise apps and services -- a number that is expected to rise to 11 within the next two years.
But the strategy comes with added headaches for CIOs, who are most often tasked with managing the mix of cloud platforms, the Forrester survey found.
The top challenges cited by firms with multi-cloud strategies included securing data as it moved between different cloud services, tracking costs and usage across multiple clouds, and maintaining integrations.
Glenn Pinnel, CIO of Benjamin Moore & Co., said a key factor in the paint company's own multi-cloud strategy is having in place the right application programming interfaces, or APIs.
Gartner Inc. has estimated that by 2020, more than 75% of businesses will be running digital business tools withmultiple delivery and operating systems, with roughly half of these firms maintaining a full-time API manager in place to oversee networks required to integrate diverse systems -- up from 10% today.
“Vendor management is also key,” Mr. Pinnel told CIO Journal. “It is important to ask yourself what terms you can put into your contracts and SLAs that will not only ensure that proper security is in place, but also make certain that up-time and performance are up to par,” he said.
The survey also found that most firms plan to “adjust their cloud strategy” within the next two years, aiming to improve performance.
A majority said they expect to increase or maintain the number of cloud vendors already in use, while boosting spending and staff around cloud services, the survey found.
This news has been published by title Multi Cloud Strategies Grow, Bring New IT Headaches: Survey
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