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Fewer, bigger cloud apps, or more that specialize?

You’d think we’re in a cycle where the number of cloud applications in enterprises is on a steady increase. I would have thought that, too. After all, the rush to decimate legacy IT has turned into something of a drag race. But, according to one study, we’d be wrong.

In its summer 2015 quarterly cloud report, the cloud-enablement firm Netskope reports that the average number of cloud apps used per enterprise declined for the first time. The company ascribes the decline to consolidation efforts from IT beginning to take hold.

To be a bit more specific, the report from the Los Altos, Calif. company notes the average number of apps used within enterprises declined from 730 in its first-quarter 2015 report to 715 in the second quarter. This marks the first time a decline has been seen, according to the company.

Why is this happening? The report says “enterprises are beginning to consolidate apps, especially those in the marketing, collaboration and productivity categories.”

That last statement suggests that enterprises are moving to a model of fewer, bigger, more-comprehensive apps that each do more. Call me naïve, but I would have thought it equally reasonable to go the other way — more apps that are each highly focused and specialized.

What is happening with the number of apps in your enterprise cloud? Which way should the enterprise app pendulum swing? Fewer apps that do more or more apps that specialize? It’s an intriguing topic for a lively discussion. Share your thoughts, we’d like to hear from you.

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Hi, Joel--I think there may even be another angle to the bigger apps/more specialized apps issue--maybe companies are finally trying to get their arms around their cloud usage in general. So it may not necessarily be about consolidating (or expanding) functionality or features, but a more basic effort of just trying to regain some degree of control.