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Large enterprise customers of SAP AG are eager to move to the cloud, but still have some lingering doubts, according to a study conducted for IT service provider HCL.

Some of the company’s largest enterprise customers plan to spend nearly double what they now spend on cloud deployments over the next year according to the research, which was reported in Computerworld.

The study, conducted by IT market researcher Vanson Bourne, found that about US$39 billion worth of SAP’s base of installed systems is likely to move to the cloud over the next two years. That dovetails quite nicely with SAP’s intention to become a cloud provider.

Some 45 per cent of companies surveyed said they spent more on SAP cloud investments during the past year and will almost double that spending during the next 12 months. Unsurprisingly, companies are heavily motivated by the potential cost savings offered by cloud computing, but nearly two-thirds are also looking to increase enterprise speed and agility. Just under half also have an eye on improving their access to new technologies.

But the cloud is still scary for some people. Thirty per cent are concerned about the ability to integrate cloud platforms with on-premises systems, and a third aren’t sure about security and privacy in the cloud. Thirty-eight per cent just don’t have the budget for cloud services right now.

Not many large SAP customers are contemplating jumping into the cloud with both feet. Nearly nine out of ten say they’re planning to start with a hybrid approach where some systems remain on-premises.

SAP (Nasdaq: SAP) is probably happy to know that its large enterprises customers don’t regard it as a one-trick pony when it comes to cloud computing. Although the company’s SaaS apps are a big part of cloud plans, more than half of those surveyed said they plan to use its Hana Enterprise Cloud at some point.

Three quarters of respondents said that the ability to exchange on-premises software licenses for cloud-based ones – offered by SAP last year – helped move them to consider cloud services more seriously.

“These stats are not surprising and only highlight the groundswell of opportunity represented by cloud solutions going forward,” an SAP spokeswoman said.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 100 executives from enterprises with at least US$1 billion in annual revenue. Sixty-seven per cent of the companies had at least US$5 billion in revenue.

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