Commissioned by ServiceNow, a survey of 1850 mid to senior managers (IT, DevOps and line-of-business) in large organisations found 52% said they would choose SaaS or PaaS over on-premises deployments for new business applications.
But that rose to 69% among the 225 Australian respondents.
Although Australia is in the vanguard of this change, the rest of the world is catching up fast: 77% of all respondents said they expect to complete the shift within two years, compared to 75% of Australians.
The survey found that DevOps is already mainstream, with 96% of Australians (and 94% of all respondents) saying they are involved in some way with the DevOps movement.
Indeed, 81% of Australian respondents said the adoption of DevOps is a major factor driving the cloud-first strategy.
"DevOps is absolutely driving the push to cloud," ServiceNow APJ principal solutions consultant Peter Doherty told iTWire, but the need to keep certain applications on premises presents "some interesting challenges."
Among them are maintaining full visibility of the IT environment, including all cloud-based elements, and being able to predict IT costs.
The really bad news is that staff development is not keeping pace with the adoption of cloud and DevOps.
The consequent skills shortage is "an interesting problem", Doherty said. Training providers should watch the job sites to identify the skills in great demand and quickly integrate them into their curricula.
While the propensity to provide employees with formal training may have declined, Doherty said organisations are developing a coaching and mentoring culture where people are expected to use a percentage of their working hours to pass on their skills to others, and to identify and adopt best practices. "I see this as very promising," he said.
A total of 72% of survey respondents felt the shift to the cloud made IT more relevant to the business, although that fell to 58% in Australia.
Doherty suggested that one way to tell whether IT had the right attitude towards the rest of the organisation was to look for references to IT in the annual report. For example, is the emphasis on completion of a hardware upgrade, or the implementation of a new customer service portal?
Good chief information officers make a point of talking regularly to their peers on the business side of the organisation, he observed.