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However, a hybrid approach is likely for "quite some time to come"

The latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) shows the overall cloud adoption rate in the UK now stands at 84 percent, with almost four in five (78 percent) of cloud users having adopted two or more cloud services.

With the end of support for Windows Server 2003 later this year, the industry body anticipates that the adoption and penetration of cloud services will show further large increases over the course of 2015.

The research, which polled 250 senior IT and business decision-makers from both the public and private sectors (enterprises and SMBs) this February, indicates 8 percent cloud growth from the last cloud research project in June 2014. Since the first research was conducted in 2010, the overall UK cloud adoption rate has grown by 75 percent.

Key findings include that 78 percent are using two or more cloud-based services and half of all respondents expect to move their entire IT estate to the cloud “at some point”, with 16 percent intending “to do this as soon as practically possible” - double the same figure from 2014.

In addition, 70 percent of those organisations already using the cloud expect their adoption to increase over the next 12 months, and 12 percent of those who do not use cloud services expect to do so within a year. The CIF predicts that by early 2016, 86 percent of UK-based organisations will use at least one cloud service.

The applications most users anticipate being cloud-based over the next 12 months are (in descending order) CRM, disaster recovery, data storage, email and collaboration services.

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Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF, said: “Cloud has moved from the edge of the IT estate to its centre, and it is now largely regarded as just another way that we do IT. Importantly, it is, by and large, delivering the benefits the industry promised it would deliver.

“We know that 90 percent of organisations using cloud are satisfied with it, 70 percent expect to up their usage over the coming year, and that 56 percent believe that it has provided them with competitive advantage.”

He added however that the cloud “isn’t yet all things to all men” and that it will continue to sit alongside on-premise solutions “for quite some time to come”. 

He said: “Although more organisations than ever are committing to a 100 percent cloud environment, the vast majority are a long way from migrating their entire IT estates - just 15 percent consider their primary IT model to now be cloud.”

He added that around half of businesses cannot foresee a time when they will move all of their IT to the cloud. They will instead manage a blend of IT delivery models.

On Windows Server 2003, 58 percent of organisations questioned in the research said they used the platform. But in spite of the support deadline for the platform ending this July, this usage figure has only gone down slightly from the 60 percent that used it in 2014.