Research Methodology

ClearPath Research Methodology

Global Perception Study research is conducted and produced by ClearPath Strategies, a strategic consulting and research firm for the world’s leaders and progressive forces. Following are the firm’s methodology notes for this line of research.

Respondent selection

Respondents are sourced from a leading global online panel provider. They are selected from the panel based on geographic and role-based quotas, as well as screening questions based on role in IT, decision-making role, company size, and how long they have been in IT. Selected respondents are further screened based on self-reported IT knowledge and attentiveness to survey questions.


The survey consists of respondents who fulfill different IT “roles”: Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Architect, Developer, DevOps, IT Manager,  Line of business leadership, Operations, and System Administrators. Respondents are asked to select which role most closely describes their primary responsibility, even if no title is exact or even if they perform more than one of these roles.

These answers are consolidated into four broad roles: Developer, Operations, Line of Business leadership, and IT Manager. Across different waves of the Global Perception Study research, the proportion of these four broad roles remains consistent within a range in order for the data to remain proportionately consistent over time.

Geographic quotas

The survey includes respondents from Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the UK and the US. These countries are combined broadly into three regions (North American, Europe and Asia) and weighted equally to maintain consistency across each wave.


Although no industry-level quotas are deployed, we monitor the data to ensure no single industry is over-represented in the data. A list of industries typically included in a Global Perception Study is as follows: Business services, Construction/engineering, Consumer services, Education, Financial services, Government, Healthcare, IT (software, hardware, services), Life sciences, Manufacturing, Mining and natural resources, Non-profit, Retail, Telecommunications/ISP/Web hosting, Transportation and logistics, Utilities, Wholesale.

Respondent screens

Potential respondents were screened on several criteria:

  • Role: All respondents who selected either “IT professional / Support / Help Desk—I provide general HW and SW support to non-IT staff” or “Non-IT professional—I work in a non-IT division and am not responsible for IT decisions in my line of business” are excluded from the surveys.
  • Company size: All respondents must self-report that their companies have minimum 100 employees. All potential respondents from smaller companies were excluded.
  • Time in IT: Respondents must have spent minimum two years working in or with IT in order to qualify for the survey.
  • Information level: In our experience, it is possible to have “qualifying respondents” who nevertheless prove to have too little information or knowledge about the space to provide useful data from which to draw insights. We therefore apply an “information” screen to respondents as well. Specifically, we ask whether or not respondents could explain certain terms to their colleagues, if asked to do so. In order to qualify for this survey, a respondent must say “yes” to this question for both the terms “cloud computing” and “virtualization.”
  • “Attention” level: It is easy for respondents to speed through surveys or not pay enough attention to provide useful data. We make an effort to exclude these respondents as well, as they provide generally less useful data. In this survey, respondents were screened out for “attention” reasons if they said they could explain the made-up term “Greenfield as a Service (GaaS)” to a colleague in the same question used for the Information Screen noted above. Additionally, respondents were excluded if—when answering the “PaaS awareness question”—they selected the logo/company names for McDonald’s or Starbucks. Both of those companies were included in the list of PaaS products, and respondents were asked only to select the PaaS offerings they were familiar with and specifically instructed not to select non-PaaS offerings.
  • We have an additional mechanism we use that automatically removes “speeders” from the final data set. We define “speeders” as anyone who completes the survey in a third of the time taken by the average respondent. While speed is not a 1:1 proxy for awareness, we can safely assume that if you are rushing through the survey, you are likely not taking the proper time to thoughtfully respond.


An important finding from our GPS studies to date—both qualitative and quantitative—is that IT decision makers have a much less clear-cut vision of the technology stack and do not always make clean distinctions between different parts of the stack. For example, although we might not describe AWS, Azure or Kubernetes as being true “PaaS” or might say they have “PaaS-like features,” the respondents may have a different perspective. Therefore, in the most recent Global Perception Studies, the following definitions were used for PaaS, Containers and Serverless:

  • PaaS: “PaaS—also called ‘Cloud Application Platform’ or simply ‘Cloud Platform’—is a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing companies to develop, run, and manage enterprise and web applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure and middleware typically associated with developing and launching an app.”
  • Containers: “Containers offer a way to virtualize an operating system, isolating processes and providing limited visibility and resource utilization—such that the process appears to be running on a separate machine. Containers can allow applications to be packaged, with all of its dependencies, into a single, standardized unit.”
  • Serverless: “Serverless computing is when
  • the cloud provider dynamically manages the allocation of machine resources, with server management and capacity planning decisions completely hidden from the developer or operator. Pricing is based on the actual amount of resources consumed by an application, rather than on pre-purchased units of capacity.”

A note on margin of error

It is technically impossible and improper to list a margin of error for a survey of this type. The respondents for this sample were drawn from an online panel with an unknown relationship to the total universe, about which we also do not know the true demographics. As such, the exact representativeness of this, or any similarly produced sample, is unknown.