What’s your attitude to the cloud? New research suggests the answer to this question could be the difference between business success and failure.

This year’s global State of IT report reveals that 72% of top-performing companies are moving their core infrastructure and data to the cloud – lifting the burden of maintenance and security from their own IT teams. Only 37% of underperforming companies do the same.

It also shows that as app integrations become more complex, many companies are turning to the cloud to help them move faster. According to the research, nearly two-thirds of companies who operate in the cloud are able to deliver an app in three months or less – significantly outperforming those using just on-premises deployment models.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the IT leaders surveyed rank cloud migration as their top priority for the next 24 months, with 70% claiming it will prove very important or absolutely critical in the coming five to eight years. 

It’s cloudy in the UK too (and not just in the usual way)

As IT teams worldwide focus more attention on cloud, UK teams are far from bucking the trend – certainly in terms of how they’re planning to spend their budgets.

  • Over the next two years: 69% of UK IT teams expect to increase spending on cloud migration
  • 61% of UK IT teams expect to increase spending on Software-as-a-Service

Cloud power in practice – Peterborough City Council

Peterborough City Council recently deployed a 90-kilometre gigabit network, connecting 107 public sector sites, from council offices, to schools and hospitals. 

One key motivation? To help the city take advantage of the cloud.

As Richard Godfrey, Assistant Director of Digital Peterborough at Peterborough City Council explains:

With a world-class fibre network, we can make greater use of cloud services. This will enable the IT team to spend less time maintaining systems and more time configuring systems to increase efficiency. It changes the role of IT at the council.

Peterborough now uses Salesforce Service Cloud in its call centre, providing it with fresh visibility into the nature of the over 300,000 inquiries it handles each year – the kind of visibility which helps boost first-time resolution rates, enhance self-service channels and reduce costs. 

It’s also planning to take advantage of Community Cloud to increase communication and collaboration for core groups within the council, and Marketing Cloud, to improve its understanding of, and communications with, Peterborough’s citizens.

Cloud power in practice – Brown-Forman

On the other side of the pond, leading spirits manufacturer Brown-Forman – think Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort and more – offers a great example of the link between cloud resources and rapid app development.

Using Salesforce App Cloud, the company has built over 45 customs apps to do everything from managing branded assets, to simplifying supply chain and finance processes. As Jennifer McClinton, Director of Technology Development, Brown-Forman told us:

We were so impressed with the ease and speed of building apps on the Salesforce1 Platform that we chose it as our platform for the future […] Now we can focus on streamlining business processes, not infrastructure.

Beyond the cloud – emerging tech on the horizon

Cloud may be a key tool for teams looking to develop apps faster and more securely, but it’s rapidly being joined by other emerging tech and strategic approaches.

The top areas of IT growth in terms of architectural and development strategy are:

  • Using custom software with a microservices architecture 
  • Using component-driven frameworks to quickly build apps
  • Applying future-proof, backward-compatible dev methodologies

Faster, fitter, better

Today’s top-performing organisations can develop apps faster than many of their less successful peers. With the cloud on their side, they’re also freeing their IT teams to focus on innovation, not just the battle to consistently upgrade in-house security.

To find out what else sets 2016’s top-performing businesses apart, check out the full State of IT Report. (You’ll also discover five ways you can take action to help ensure you’re among their number come 2017.)