Where are the majority of software publishers focusing their efforts in the next year? They may just be following Adobe's (NASDAQ:ABDE) lead this week as it pulled the plug on the packaged software version of its creative suite. A recent study by SafeNet, Inc. and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) revealed that 75 percent of software publishers plan to offer at least some of their product portfolios as a service by the end of 2013. What's the common driver for software publishers to offer cloud-based services? We'll reveal the answer, along with other key findings from the report.

Even though more than one-third of software publishers have yet to offer cloud-based services, those 75 percent who do have plans to offer part of their portfolios as a service within the next year say they are hoping to reduce operational costs associated with product delivery, activation and support. The study revealed that 65 percent of software publishers are offering all or a portion of their portfolios as a cloud service. Cloud services, on average, comprise 24 percent of a company’s software portfolio.

Cloud will continue to grow as a portion of overall publisher portfolios over the next five years, despite the steady number of publishers with no cloud presence. Besides operational costs associated with product delivery, activation and support driving publishers to the cloud, improving customer experience by “reducing end-user headaches”; the ability to access new and niche markets; improved usage tracking; and faster time to market have also been contributing factors. In fact, 61 percent of software publishers that have already adopted a cloud-based software delivery approach have reported positive financial outcomes.

Which cloud adoption challenges are software developers facing?

Being cloud-ready is the number one obstacle facing software developers, more than 55 percent of respondents claimed.  Security of data in the cloud was reported to be the second largest challenge (36 percent), while true cloud readiness ranked third.

Surprisingly, however, 26 percent said they could never move offerings to the cloud.