With the promise of better asset utilisation, cost efficiencies, greater agility, scalability and low barriers to entry, it’s not surprising that 94% of organisations say cloud has helped them move closer to meeting business needs. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the most common form of deployment (67% of organisations), followed by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) (47%) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) (42%).
However, despite the prevalence of positive sentiment, it appears that cloud computing is not the only factor in play when it comes to ICT improvement and business transformation. Only a quarter of organisations, give or take, can directly attribute benefits to their cloud initiatives. These benefits included increased responsiveness, or time and resource savings on infrastructure management and administrative tasks.
Perhaps that’s because cloud service delivery models aren’t suitable for every organisation, usage scenario or application requirement. So it’s important to consider the different paths an organisation might take to digital transformation. Almost half would consider expanding their own staff training programmes to beef up knowledge and IT delivery capabilities, instead of migrating applications and services to cloud platforms. A similar proportion would explore the possibility of working more closely with hosting providers and application services providers with whom they already have outsourcing arrangements.
There’s no doubt that rising tide of cloud services has sent waves of disruption rippling through internal IT provision. But this is due in no small part to great advances in mobile technologies, which have lent themselves readily to accessing cloud-hosted applications and services. When companies deliver services in a way that is reliable and easy to consume, the general impact is a wider acceptance of online services. It’s not so much cloud per se that has rocked the boat, but the increasing expectations and demands of on-the-go consumers and business users. Perhaps that’s why the three greatest drivers of cloud migration are the most disruptive:
• Support for remote workers and mobile users (72%)
• High compute capacity available on demand (69%)
• Ability to start projects quickly (69%).
The more prosaic efficiency benefits of cloud are the lowest on the agenda:
• Reduced CAPEX (56%)
• Less IT administration (53%)
• Ability to charge back IT provision to business departments (50%)
Unsurprisingly, the sheer intangibility of the cloud means IT leaders harbour residual doubts around security, data protection, governance, costs and performance. However, it’s not always clear where data is safer – in hosting facilities owned and managed by a third party, or on-premise servers run by an IT team, who may or may not have the equivalent knowledge and expertise in security certification and regulatory requirements. The inevitable perception among executives is that sensitive data is better protected the closer and more tightly controlled it is. In reality they simply crave greater visibility into third party security management processes to give them the assurances they need.
Cloud is not going anywhere
Big data analytics, wearable tech and the Internet of Things are anticipated to be the major enterprise technology shifts for the future. Arguably, the very definition of a “disruptive technology” is one that suddenly appears out of nowhere and very quickly gains mainstream recognition and market deployment. In just a few years, cloud computing has morphed from a nebulous concept to a solid proposition. Today, it seems likely that the cloud will never disappear – it’ll just change its shape.