The pace of cloud based services adoption is steadily increasing for businesses, according to a recent report from GigaOM Research and North Bridge Venture Partners. In 2013, 75 percent of those surveyed said they are using some sort of cloud computing solutions, up from 67 percent last year. The report forecasted that the industry will hit nearly $159 billion by 2014, a 126.5 percent increase from 2011.

There were plenty of shifts in this year's report, according to the companies surveyed, including the fact that businesses are increasingly recognizing the advantages of innovation and agility as core competitive benefits of implementing cloud technology.

Results from the report show:
- 52 percent of respondents use applications that advance business priorities and 36 percent use them to advance IT priorities
- 68 percent of both business and IT respondents see better migration to the cloud bringing at least equal or better total cost of ownership versus legacy hardware and software
- Software-as-a-service is the most popular use of cloud computing, as 63 percent of organizations utilize this, but infrastructure-as-a-service is the fastest rising model from last year, currently at 45 percent up from 35 percent last year
- The top two drivers are agility at 54.5 percent and scalability at 54.3 percent

"Self-empowered consumers and businesses are taking the lead, and in many instances, regardless of IT," Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners said. "But IT is investing heavily by both adapting internal infrastructure and adopting public infrastructure to respond on demand, while managing the inevitable issues of compliance and regulation through hybrid approaches. And to realize the promise of the cloud, there is a clear call for the industry as a whole to help reduce complexity, and provide better interoperability."

Adopting early pays off
Another recent report, this one by a cloud computing solutions provider, showed that those who adopt the technology early see better results more quickly. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents were heavy users of the cloud and started to see their advantages of the cloud come in greater numbers than those who had just started using the technology. For example, 30 percent of those just starting in the cloud said they were given faster access to IT infrastructure versus 87 percent of heavy users.