Bob Welton, Regional Director Northern Europe, NTT Communications in Europe discusses.
Cloud computing is a term we’re all too familiar with and there continues to be a lot of hype around the implications and benefits for business. Yet however much these benefits are discussed, ‘real world’ cloud, is yet to be firmly stitched into the fabric of today’s business agenda. This is not to say that CIOs are unaware of cloud and its potential, on the contrary, evidence is showing that many CIOs do understand that the cloud is vital to innovate and move organisations ahead. However the reality is very different, which is why last year NTT Europe spoke to 300 CIOs and Senior IT leaders to find out exactly what was hindering cloud adoption.
The report, ‘Growing pains in the cloud’, found that the overriding factor preventing businesses moving to the cloud is ICT complexity, with 81% of leading CIOs surveyed stating that it is their own ICT architecture which is the greatest hurdle to cloud adoption. Legacy ICT estates are not simple structures, with a mix of legacy servers, programmes and applications supporting different business departments, many in multiple locations, CIO’s recognise that merging these seamlessly to the cloud is complicated and so creates a lot of anxiety. It’s because of these complexities that many are delaying cloud adoption. To overcome this, CIOs need ‘real world’ cloud solutions that can bridge the gap between legacy ICT and the new applications that are being introduced, into increasingly more connected workplaces. Only if this happens will CIOs be able to migrate systems to the cloud and address the 80/20 budget imbalance, whereby 80% of ICT budgets run and maintain incumbent systems, leaving just 20% for innovation, as recently cited by Forbes.
Beyond the actual complexities of sprawling servers and old programmes, there is a concern amongst CIOs that cloud providers do not fully acknowledge or appreciate the complexities faced by individual businesses, and that they are instead looking to sell a one size fits all approach to cloud. Over 45% of CIOs questioned cited levels of customer support as a main reservation when thinking about cloud adoption. Recognising individual business needs and working to develop a bespoke solution that is sympathetic will no doubt aid CIO’s readiness to migrate solutions. With only 6% of CIOs stating that cloud is not an option for them, the gauntlet has now been laid out to cloud providers to deliver high quality, tailored packages that offer clear business benefits.
The business engine.
Over 90% of CIOs stated that they are currently using up to six individual cloud platforms, at a tactical level, to support operations which is challenging to track, manage or deem value from. Viewing the cloud as a strategic business platform, rather than just another temporary solution is part of changing organisational behaviour and culture surrounding ICT as a tool. A perennial issue for CIOs is presenting the business benefits of ICT beyond the basic hardware and software requirements of employees. Without this the demands for faster internet service, quicker installation of programmes and the integration of ‘’ ( ) will not be successful. Of those questioned 40% recognise the cloud as a tool for unlocking business potential. CIOs need help to address this fundamental lack of understanding and the opportunities for growth that the cloud can offer, therefore securing C-level support across their organisations is imperative. Only if this happens will they be able make the leap necessary to ensure the business is reaching its full potential.
The cloud is desirable.
For the majority (91%) of CIOs there is a desire to move to the cloud at some stage, and the decision is more around how and when. The debate surrounding issues of moving legacy infrastructure and applications into the cloud will rumble on, but for many the hybrid architecture offering compliments this conversation and dispels the myth that original investment in ICT will be lost. Producing a bespoke service level agreement that reflects the ICT complexities of a specific organisation is the key to ensuring effective cloud transition and is something skilled providers are geared up to undertake.
It is clear that the majority of CIOs recognise cloud computing forms part of their business future and that if ‘real world’ cloud is properly introduced, its capacity to help unlock business potential is unparalleled but the issue of existing ICT complexity remains. The challenges in moving infrastructure and applications to the cloud are not going to disappear; but with the right support, guidance and experience it can be a hugely successful exercise. Only when these hurdles are broken down will the benefits of cloud be visible.