Agile, Cloud

After 9 months, I delivered a new report

What started last fall as my biggest research project to date was successfully published last week on GigaOm Research. For non-subscribers, I’ve added the report to my work. I’d recommend you read the Executive Summary and if anything peaks your interest, you dive in deeper.

Titled Survey: Enterprise Development in the Cloud, the biggest different between this report and others is that first I had to design a survey to ask the right questions to inform the report. Red Hat’s hypothesis was that business and technical leaders didn’t realize the costs of waiting on infrastructure (and thus the value proposition of cloud to reduce wait time). So I attempted to quantify that.

The other unique thing about this survey is that it targeted people involved in “enterprise development”, all 408 respondents worked within IT of large and very large organizations (10,000+ people). To date it’s the only survey I’m aware that has this focus (please leave a comment if you know of others).

I worked with a few folks at Red Hat to get the 13 survey questions designed and then ResearchNow rolled it out and gathered the results in December. Then the real work begin sifting through the data looking for trends and patterns. Some were a little surprising, for example only 21% of respondents are developing apps in the cloud – a much lower figure than in other published reports (e.g. RightScales’ State of the Cloud survey has a lot higher adoption rate). Writing the initial draft and the back-and-forth of reviews and editing process took much of the winter and spring. But after 9 months, there’s finally something to show for all the effort!

For me one of the more interesting aspects of writing the report was organizing it around the key themes that emerged from the survey. ResearchNow provided a web-base way of slicing and dicing the survey results, so I could compare the project time to market for those users who use the cloud and those who don’t. I could cross-correlate data from different questions to see how they compared.

I won’t steal the thunder of the paper, but the evidence is pretty clear that cloud is improving time to market and productivity for enterprise development. What’s striking is the lower adoption rate today, but based on my recent experience this is rapidly changing as even the most conservative organizations are beginning to embrace the cloud, albeit slowly.

Give the paper a read and let me know what you think. Does this match your experiences? What are some other interesting observations you take away from this report?

Finally, I’ve got two more reports coming out later this summer and a speaking gig at Agile Richmond on July 15th. More on these to come…