Personal Cloud Services Emerge To Orchestrate Our Mobile Computing Lives

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1 A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By SugarSync Personal Cloud Services Emerge To Orchestrate Our Mobile Computing Lives File Access, Sync and Share Services Grew From 9% Of Online Adults In 2010 To 15% In 2012 To Become The Fastest Growing Personal Cloud Service July 2012

2 Table Of Contents Executive Summary... 2 People Now Use Many PCs, Devices, And Services For Work And Home... 2 Personal Cloud Services Will Orchestrate Our Digital Experiences... 3 In 2012, US Personal Cloud Use Is Now Mainstream -- And 15% Use File Sync... 6 What IT Means ---- Personal Cloud Services Will Transform Personal Computing Appendix A: Methodology Appendix B: Endnotes , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to [1-JY1YZV] About Forrester Consulting Forrester Consulting provides independent and objective research-based consulting to help leaders succeed in their organizations. Ranging in scope from a short strategy session to custom projects, Forrester s Consulting services connect you directly with research analysts who apply expert insight to your specific business challenges. For more information, visit Page 1

3 Executive Summary Personal cloud services are transforming personal computing, as US individuals move to store their files on online services accessible from any device, rather than fiddle with files to get them on the right PC or mobile device of the moment. In January 2012, SugarSync commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the growth of personal cloud services in the U.S. based on Forrester s personal cloud reports from 2009 and We screened 2,136 US online adults to find 1,380 users of various types of personal cloud services to determine current use and compare with initial adoption rates from Forrester s 2010 survey. Of these 1,380 users, 1,100 used at least one of the most popular service categories we focused on, and 529 of these personal cloud users completed the full survey. Key Findings Forrester s study yielded five key findings: File sync services crossed the chasm in early 2011, and are exploding in File access, sync, and share adoption grew by two thirds from 9% of U.S. online adults in 2010 to 15% in 2012 to become the fastest-growing online file service category, ahead of both online backup and web-based office productivity. We estimate adoption to have surpassed 10% of U.S. online adults in early 2011, implying hyper-growth this year and next. Two-thirds of US online adults are using at least one form of a broad range of personal cloud services. For photos, files, information, media, password services, contacts, or calendaring, two out of three U.S. online adults are using at least one of this broad range of personal cloud services. Mobile device proliferation is driving daily use of the personal cloud. Using multiple PCs has motivated many to try personal cloud services, but mobile devices up the ante. Fifty-eight percent of personal cloud users with smartphones use personal cloud services daily or hourly. US online adults are blending work and personal technologies. Almost half of personal cloud services are used for blended work and personal purposes. Users and their employers are paying for personal cloud services. Almost one in five personal cloud services is being paid for, showing that users find the services valuable enough to spend money. People Now Use Many PCs, Devices, And Services For Work And Home Personal computers started out simple enough ---- you used only one, probably at work. Then, PCs got more useful and the Internet arrived, and people got a PC at home as well. And interesting online services grew up that offered news portals, search engines, web mail, social networking, and more. Smartphones arrived, then tablets. Now individuals find themselves using multiple PCs and mobile devices, adding Internet-connected devices such as TVs, game consoles, and printers, and using tens of online Internet accounts. How common is this? Forrester has surveyed consumers and information workers (employees who use a PC or mobile device for work an hour or more per day) to find out. As of 2010, we estimated that more than half of US online adults used two or more PCs and smartphones, and that two-thirds Page 2

4 will by When we surveyed almost 10,000 of the most intensive computing users, global information workers, we learned that: 2 More than half of information workers use three or more computing devices for work. Our survey inventoried both personally purchased and work-issued PCs, tablets and smartphones, and the degree to which each device was used for work and for personal use. Surprisingly, 52% used at least three of these devices for work regularly ---- and 34% used four or more. So keeping track of which gadget has that overdue report or the babysitter s phone number is challenging for hundreds of millions of workers across the globe. One-quarter of devices used by information workers are smartphones and tablets rather than PCs. Although mobile devices seem like a recent invention, they re already one-fourth of the overall devices used for work. 3 Laptops are another 40% of the total, meaning almost two-thirds of the computing devices used by info workers are portable. Therefore, keeping track of where information is kept on these devices is complicated by frequently switching devices and referencing multiple devices throughout a busy day on the go. Information workers mix work and personal use on 60% of the PCs and mobile devices they use. With busy lives and multiple computing devices, information workers have taken a pragmatic approach to managing work and personal computing and information. They mix work and personal use on 60% of the devices they use. 4 Only 14% of devices are used strictly for work and 26% are purely personal use. Personal Cloud Services Will Orchestrate Our Digital Experiences The growth of a rich personal computing ecosystem of PCs, mobile devices, Internet-connected appliances, and a myriad of online services is spurring the transformation of personal computing into a personal cloud services ecosystem, which we predicted in 2009 and spelled out in a detailed forecast in We define the personal cloud as: A set of personal devices and federated online services, configured and controlled by individuals, which: 1) Organizes and preserves personal or work information, documents, media, and communications; 2) orchestrates integration of personal information across digital devices and online services; and 3) delivers that information to any device or service. Although this vision is not fully realized today, many of the initial services and use cases already exist. Ultimately, individuals will set up and link several of these online services into their own personal cloud that organizes, preserves, and orchestrates their personal and work data cross their digital lives. Forrester believes personal cloud services will be much more than just online file storage. The four key categories of information around which people are building their own personal cloud are (see Figure 1): , plus contacts and calendar. This is part of the personal cloud, but it s not enough by itself. In surveys, Forrester doesn t count web mail accounts as personal cloud use, even though it s a core part of an individual s personal cloud experience, because it s so broadly used. For most individuals, online communications is their most important Internet capability and the most important repository of information. Contacts go hand-in-hand with . Digital calendaring, although not as widely used yet, is also inextricably linked with communications. This triad creates a foundation on which add-on services will be built. Why , plus contacts and calendars? Because it s very time-consuming to notify friends and institutions to switch over to a new address. And for Page 3

5 most people it s complex to figure out how to set up a new service to retrieve from a previous service, if it s allowed at all. So changing addresses or hosters is a pain that most users will avoid. File access, sharing, sync, and backup. Although many people move and preserve a key file by ing it to themselves, that s not a scalable or easily organized approach. Many online services have been created to host personal files on a website, automatically synch folders of files to all registered PCs and devices, back up part or all of your device(s) to protect against loss, and more. All of these services are built on the idea of making your files available instantly or on demand from any Internet-connected device, at any time, even if a device fails or is lost. Making files independent of any one device or online service is transformational ---- it s like the move from keeping cash in your mattress to keeping your money in a modern, networked bank that is accessible from all over the world via ATM and wire transfer. Information management of notes, clippings, financial info, health records, and documents. Some types of information don t lend themselves to files or are better organized within a specialized application or service. So note-taking applications and online services record and organize sophisticated note taking, audio recording, web clipping, and images in a native app that also syncs all your content to an online service that synchs the data to your other devices. Financial and health records are best in online services that link to industry systems for additional information and help. Digital filing systems specialize in storing document formats such as PDF to enable a digital filing cabinet for organizing and searching documents in ways that go beyond the capabilities of the PC file system. Online office productivity services are another variation on this idea, with document storage integrated with work processing, spreadsheets, and presentation tools that work in a web browser. Personal media, including photos, music, and videos. For many of us, personal photos are some of the most precious keepsakes ---- but they can be easily lost with the failure of a hard drive or theft of a laptop. So online sharing and storage of photos has become very popular in specialized photo services and in social networks ---- some individuals use file sync services while others use photo-specific services. Similarly, many people really value personally created music and videos as well as the commercial music and videos they buy. Online services from major computer companies and content providers enable people to search, buy, store, and organize their media for playback and sharing. Page 4

6 Figure 1 Individuals Build Their Personal Cloud From Core, Component, Andd Work Servicess Source: The Personal Cloud: Transforming Personal Computing, Mobile, And Web Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., June 6, 2011 As Of Late 2010, 6% To 9% Of US Online Adults Weree Using A Personal Cloud Sync Service Although the vision for how the personal cloud ecosystem will ultimately play out is still being formed, US individuals are embracing personal cloud services. In surveys that Forrester conducted in 2010, we asked consumers and information workers about their use of a variety of file access/sync, information management, and contacts. 6 Adoption was already advanced then: Page 5

7 Almost one-third of US online adults used one or more personal cloud service in late Overall about 28% of the US online adult population was using at least one personal cloud service for office productivity, file store and sync, or online backup ---- which translates to 68 million people. For file, media, and information access, sync and share services, about 9% of US online adults were using such services. In 2010, adoption of personal cloud services was higher among US information workers, at 41%. For file sync, 6% of information workers reported using these services. Overall, information workers were about half again more likely to be using personal cloud services, at 41% of all US information workers. And 5% of information workers were using three or more personal cloud service types. In 2012, US Personal Cloud Use Is Now Mainstream And 15% Use File Sync To learn more about how personal cloud users are using the services, we screened 2,136 respondents and found 1,380 who were using one or more of a broad range of personal cloud services, including file sync. With the screening questions we were able to determine what proportion of US online adults are using personal cloud services today. We also collected details on the blend of work and personal use and the degree to which US adults are paying for personal cloud services. We learned that: In 2012, two-thirds of US online adults now use at least one of the many forms of personal cloud services. We questioned US online adults on use of a variety of categories of personal cloud services, from file storage for synching and/or web access among PCs and mobile devices, to contacts, to photo display or storage services, and found that 65% of US online adults are using at least one such service, excluding use of web mail (see Figure 2). Note that our 2010 survey did not include photos, but this survey does, so the overall personal cloud adoption numbers are not directly comparable. Regardless, it s pretty remarkable that two-thirds of all online adults are using one or more personal cloud services today -- and that 15% are using file storage service for sync or web access, compared to the 9% in the 2010 survey of individuals. Adoption of file access, sync and share personal cloud services accelerated in the past two years. We can compare changes in adoption for some specific service types across the two surveys. In 2010, 9% of US online adults were using file, media, and information syncing services; by 2012, 15% were using a file storage service for syncing and/or web access, which is two thirds increase in just two years. We asked about types of personal data that personal cloud users were storing online now, and in 2010, we learned that users of each five types of information grew 43%, to 86%, depending on category (see Figure 3). As a result, Forrester believes that strong growth in personal cloud adoption will continue. Page 6

8 Figure 2 Two-Thirds Of US Online Adults Use Personal Cloud Services Which of these online or Internet services do you personally use for home or for work, excluding what your employer gives you? Select all that apply. Contacts and calendars in an online service 44% Photo display or storage online service 40% Web-based office productivity and document sharing 19% Music or video digital locker on a website 15% 65% of US online adults 18+ use one or more services File storage service for synching and/or web access among your PCs and mobile devices 15% Mobile device or PC online backup service 10% 26% of US online adults 18+ use 1 or more online file services File sending service, instead of attachments Information management service to capture and save digital notes and information 6% 5% Base: 2,136 US online adults 18+ screened for this personal cloud user survey Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 Page 7

9 Figure 3 Personal Cloud Users Are Increasingly Storing Media And Work Documents In Online Services Which of the following categories of personal data are you storing in online or Internet services? Select all that apply. Today (2012) 2 years ago (2010) Growth Media (e.g., video, music, ebook files) 28% 53% 86% Work documents (e.g., Word, Excel files, PDFs, contacts, calendars) 30% 54% 80% Photos 38% 66% 74% Personal documents (e.g., Word, Excel files, PDFs, contacts, calendars) 42% 68% 63% Personal identity/financial information (e.g., driver s license, passport, birth certificatate, Social Security Number, tax returns, banking/credit card information) 14% 20% 43% Base: 529 US online adults aged 18 and over who use personal cloud service(s) Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 Smartphones and tablets edge out PCs for most frequently used devices for personal cloud. The rise of mobile devices over the past four years has fueled demand for personal cloud services. Indeed, 22% of personal cloud users with smartphones report using their personal cloud service hourly, 58% use it at least daily, and 69% use it at least weekly (see Figure 4). When we asked personal cloud users about what devices they use regularly for work or personal use, 35% reported they use two or more mobile devices, 79% use two or more PCs, and 92% use one or more external storage devices (see Figure 5). Page 8

10 Figure 4 Personal Cloud Users Reach For Mobile Devices More Often Than PCs To Access Personal Cloud Services For the devices and services you said you use for work or personal, how often do you use one or more of these online service on each device? Hourly Daily Smartphone (N = 401) 22% 36% Tablet (N = 182) 12% 42% Laptop/ultrabook/netbook PC (N = 469) 13% 40% Desktop/all-in-one PC (N = 409) 15% 34% Base: US online adults aged 18 and over who use personal cloud service(s) and the computing devices indicated above Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 Page 9

11 Figure 5 A Staggering Three-Fourths Of Personal Cloud Users Are Juggling Three Or More Computing Devices How many of the following devices do you regularly use for any purpose, at home or at work? One Two Three or more Computing devices (Smartphones, tablets, laptop/ultrabook/ netbook PCs, desktop/all-in-one PCs) 6% 20% 74% Storage devices (USB devices, external drives) 17% 26% 49% Internet connected devices (Internetenabled printers & scanners, smart TVs, ereaders) 35% 21% 22% 35% use 2+ mobile devices 79% use 2+ PCs 92% use 1+ external storage devices Base: 529 US online adults aged 18 and over who use personal cloud service(s) Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 US individuals are paying for personal cloud services and getting their employers to chip in. Despite a plethora of free options, US online adults are seeing value in premium services and are willing to pay for enhancements to workflow and user experience. For file sync, share, and access, 16% of users pay for file sync services, with 7% paying themselves, and 9% having their company pay. Overall, about 37% of personal cloud users report having paid for at least one service they used last year, and 42% plan to do so this year. When we studied the average personal cloud user s inventory of services, we found that nearly one in five are paid for. About 11% are paid for directly out of pocket, and 7% are paid for by employers, either directly or through reimbursement (see Figure 6). Page 10

12 Figure 6 Nearly One In Five Personal Cloud Services Are Paid For, With Employers Paying For More Than One-Third Of Them Who pays for the service you use? (Average personal cloud user s inventory of services) I pay, but my company reimburses me My company pays for the service directly There is only a free version Other/don't know I pay most/all the cost I choose the free version 1% -50% -30% -3% 6% 11% 18% of service categories used by respondents are paid for! 61% of purchased services are paid for directly by users. 39% are reimbursed or paid for directly by companies. Base: Weighted average of responses by 529 US online adults aged 18 and over who use personal cloud service(s) Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 Work use is a real driver for personal cloud services. About 47% of personal cloud services reported by personal cloud users blend work and personal usage. When we remove media-oriented services from the set of services and analyze those that provide sync, sharing, backup, and web access capabilities for notes and documents, the result for blended work and personal use is 60% (see Figure 7). File sync, share, and access respondents report that they blend work and personal, demonstrating that many apply the convenience of file sync at work and at home. Page 11

13 Figure 7 About Half Of All Personal Cloud User s Devices and Services Are Used Both For Work And Personal Use Do you use the technology you indicated above for work or personal purposes? (Average personal cloud user s inventory of personal cloud services and computing devices) Personal cloud services Computing devices Don't use, 2% Personal only, 48% Blended work and personal, 47% 60% when removing mediaoriented services Personal only, 38% Blended work and personal, 58% Work only, 3% Work only, 4% Base: Weighted average of responses by 529 US online adults aged 18 and over who use personal cloud service(s) and the computing devices indicated above Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 Photos and file store/sync are the biggest drivers of personal cloud overall. Among personal cloud users, storing and sharing photos is the most common use case, at 90%, with file store/sync used by 51% of personal cloud users (see Figure 8). The remaining four use cases are all strong, with online device backup the lowest, at 25%. It s interesting to see how powerful the appeal of photo sharing is compared with the everyday practical use of file store/sync, office productivity, information management, and file sharing. Page 12

14 Figure 8 Photos And File Store/Sync Drive Personal Cloud Use Among Those Who Use Any Of Six Personal Cloud Services How do you do the following? Percent of personal cloud user respondents using personal cloud services to do the following activities: Store and share photos 90% Store and access your files on multiple PCs, smartphones, or tablets 51% Edit and store work or personal documents (office productivity) 43% Share files (not including photos) with others 42% Capture and save digital notes and information 39% Back up your most important PC, smartphone, or tablet 25% online adults aged 18 and over who use personal cloud service(s) Base: 529 US Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SugarSync, April 2012 Page 13

15 WHAT IT MEANS PERSONAL CLOUD SERVICES WILL TRANSFORM PERSONAL COMPUTING US online adults are already moving away from the PC-centric model where all their digital information is stored on their PC(s). Forrester s survey shows that two-thirds of US individuals now store photos, files, information, or media in at least one online service, up dramatically in just 18 months. Over the next five years, these shifts in behaviors will lead to big changes in personal computing, as: Personal cloud services become central to personal computing and digital experience. Rather than buying a bigger hard drive or a home server to keep track of their growing digital content, individuals will store most of their digital information in personal cloud services, just as they store money in banks and mutual fund companies. Buyers will identify less with the brand of their devices or operating system and more with the brand of their personal cloud service. Individuals choose PCs and devices based on personal cloud compatibility rather than just cool hardware. With a growing body of digital content and history in their personal cloud services, individuals will begin to shift their buying criteria. Rather than focus first on exciting industrial design or the latest operating system version, buyers will start with products that offer the best experience and integration with their personal cloud services before they consider other factors. So device and OS makers will either issue their own cloud services or partner closely with a personal cloud service to increase buyer consideration. It s the same phenomenon as sports fans searching for TV service first they determine which providers carry their team s games, then they consider among that narrower list of options. Personal cloud services focus on lifelong service to customers, spanning jobs. Personal cloud services are very sticky, because it is painful to move photos, files, and information from one service to the next and it may be impractical or impossible to move purchased commercial content such as digital books or movies, where there are not universal formats as there is with music. So personal cloud services will focus on capturing customers early, while they re still in school, and growing with them across the arc of their lives. We ll see support for careful integration with and separation of employer digital content and systems, so people can focus on getting their work done. IT organizations will support integration with employee personal cloud services. Corporate servers become one node of a federated information environment they re no longer the solitary central hub for work file storage. When employees start a new job, they ll expect to be able to link up their personal cloud services, with appropriate controls, in the same spirit that they often use their car to drive to meetings for work or take paper files home for some evening catch-up work. It should just work is the new benchmark for enterprise technology so IT will support and plug into personal cloud services by sharing access with employees that can be turned off once they leave the company. Tablets and smartphones will motivate increasing numbers of users to try personal cloud services. The original motivation was more about multiple PCs, both at home and at work. Smartphones prompt growing interest in personal cloud for photos and files. But tablets are a bigger driver. The larger screen and the temptation to use the tablet instead of a laptop in some situations really drives tablet users to seek out personal cloud services to ease integration of their digital content across PCs and tablets. Page 14

16 Appendix A: Methodology In this study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 529 Internet user 18 years of age or older in the United States to evaluate the emergence of the personal cloud market. Questions provided to the participants asked how often they are engaging with personal cloud, the drivers of using personal cloud, and the importance of mobility on their decision to leverage the personal cloud. The study began in January 2012 and was completed in June Appendix B: Endnotes 1 Source: The Personal Cloud: Transforming Personal Computing, Mobile, And Web Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., June 6, The rise of mobile devices and broadband Internet access at home are driving new behaviors by information workers. Our surveys of almost 10,000 global information workers and 2,300 IT hardware decision-makers enable us to quantify how info workers are using many devices for work purposes and blending work and personal use across their full set of devices. We quantify the portion of workers who report spending personal funds for specific device types and the amount of spending they control. This report suggests how technology markets will evolve as a result, and it gives examples of how vendor strategists can plan for and take advantage of the new market conditions. Source: Info Workers Using Mobile And Personal Devices For Work Will Transform Personal Tech Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., February 22, Source: Info Workers Using Mobile And Personal Devices For Work Will Transform Personal Tech Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., February 22, In late 2011, we surveyed almost 10,000 information workers, or full time employed adults who use a computing device for at least an hour a day to do their job, across 17 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia- Pacific, and Russia. Source: Info Workers Using Mobile And Personal Devices For Work Will Transform Personal Tech Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., February 22, Source: The Personal Cloud: Transforming Personal Computing, Mobile, And Web Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., June 6, Source: The Personal Cloud: Transforming Personal Computing, Mobile, And Web Markets, Forrester Research, Inc., June 6, Page 15

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