By 2017 that spending is expected to top $107 billion, raising prospects for major business growth in the industry across the world.
Much of the early growth period in cloud computing was marked by skepticism -- both from business customers and providers. But new figures indicate that cloud IT growth is moving toward interdependence between Big Data, mobile and social media.
Big Data is defined as data sets so large and complex that they cannot easily be processed using on-hand database management tools or conventional data processing applications. Corporate and government security concerns inhibited early growth in Big Data's adoption of cloud services, but that is seen to be changing, industry analysts say.
Big Data's major challenges, from capture to analysis, are increasingly seen by cloud services as a growing business opportunity that conventional computing cannot easily handle.
Worldwide spending on public IT cloud services will reach $47.4 billion in 2013 and is expected to be more than $107 billion in 2017, a new forecast from International Data Corp. said.
Over the 2013–2017 forecast period, public IT cloud services will have a compound annual growth rate of 23.5 percent, five times that of the IT industry as a whole, an IDC study said.
The report says cloud computing has played a crucial role in changing the way companies use information technology. Cloud services are starting to shift into a "chapter two" phase where the scale of cloud adoption will not only be much bigger, but also more user and solution driven.
In this period of growth, cloud and the other related technologies will become even more interdependent as they continue to drive growth and innovation across all industries that depend on IT.
"The first wave of cloud services adoption was focused on improving the efficiency of the IT department," IDC Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst Frank Gens said.
"Over the next several years, the primary driver for cloud adoption will shift from economics to innovation as leading-edge companies invest in cloud services as the foundation for new competitive offerings," Gens said.
Cloud services growth has been helped by rapid diversification of its uses. Virtual private cloud services helped to allay early fears about private and control over data.
The growing focus on cloud services as a business innovation platform will help to drive spending on public IT cloud services to new levels throughout the forecast period.
The United States is likely to remain the largest public IT cloud services market, although its share may decline decline from 56.9 percent in 2013 to 43.9 percent in 2017 while Western Europe, Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific region will each gain share throughout the forecast.
Cloud spending in emerging markets is expected to be double that in developed countries, or about 37.3 percent in the 2013-2017 period.
Recent studies indicate China's economic slowdown may also affect public IT spending in East Asia.
Expectations have also been scaled back in Canada, Western Europe, Brazil, and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as in Asia and Pacific region outside Japan.