Let's not start using the word "predictable," but organizations are starting to settle into five different categories of cloud personas, according to new data from WideAngle, a division of NTT Com Security (formerly known as Integralis). And the new "The Five Cloud Personas - are you an Embracer or a Controller?" report has some interesting data to share on how companies are embracing not only cloud, but new technologies in general.

WideAngle based its study on a survey of more than 700 IT decision-makers in organizations with more than 500 employees in seven geographies—the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Nordic region, Japan and Hong Kong. It examined the habits of organizations across the public and private sector, and came up with five distinct cloud personas, each with well-defined characteristics, said Tom Salkeild, director of professional services at WideAngle, in an interview with Talkin' Cloud.

So how to companies measure up? Quite simple, really:

  • The Controller is an organization least likely to use cloud computing (so don't have high hopes for making a sale). This is the kind of organization that is wedded to traditional data center models and is very unlikely to experiment with new and emerging technologies.
  • The Accepter is the next step up. The type of organization that fits into this persona is likely to adopt cloud and has made some movement toward that adoption, but the head honchos won't make that shift unless there is a very clear business case to do so.
  • The Experimenter is a little more adventurous, and is likely to check out and play with new technology. Over the next 12 months, these types of companies are likely to move the majority of their services into the cloud.
  • The Believer is "very active" in terms of seeking out new technologies, such as cloud, and has already likely moved a majority of services onto the cloud.
  • The Embracer is the truly forward-looking type that is not afraid of new technologies and always looking to challenge convention. This type of organization is looking for ways to use technology to gain advantages, and it has probably already embraced cloud computing in a big way.

"What we saw is actually across geographies different countries have a different mix of personas and are at different levels of adopting the cloud," Salkeild said. "What we saw is organizations that have moved to cloud-based services are seeing some real advantages in terms of agility, in terms of being able to move in a more agile way to exploit a merging of business opportunities."

The percentile breakdown is very heavily weighted in the middle, but there is a certain skepticism evident. According to the survey, 18 percent of those surveyed are Controllers, 23 percent are Accepters, 35 percent are Experimenters, 17 percent are Believers, and only 8 percent are Embracers.

"There is a strong movement with regards to organizations moving towards the cloud as we go forward. Some organizations are just slower adopters based on their type or persona," Salkeild explained.