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Study: Cloud is changing how businesses operate

A new study by CompTIA found that the market for cloud computing is still on the rise, as the number of organizations utilizing the technology increased in 2011 for the third straight year. The research revealed that more than 80 percent of businesses are currently using at least one cloud service.

More than half of survey respondents also plan to increase their cloud budgets by the end of this year. This is likely because more than 80 percent of companies now have a stronger appreciation for the cloud than they did in the past, CompTIA noted.

"Internal IT departments also are on the edge of major transformation," CompTIA technology analysis director Seth Robinson said. "The option for cloud solutions for various parts of the computing stack is opening the doors for IT professionals to perform new tasks or at least perform old tasks in new ways."

The study also revealed that roughly 20 percent of businesses contract an external organization to assist in the cloud migration. This may change in the coming years, however, as more companies accept the cloud and use the technology in different ways.

"Advanced software for analytics, unified communications, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and other sophisticated technology solutions were often out of the price range or skill set of many businesses," CompTIA executive Carolyn April said. "With cloud-based solutions and delivery and either set monthly pricing or a pay-as-you-go model, these technologies come within the financial reach of even the smallest of small businesses."

The demand to use new cloud services will become even more important during the advent of big data, as decision-makers look to new solutions in an attempt to harness and leverage valuable customer information.

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