Cloud Provider Commentary

Oct 8 2012   5:23PM GMT

Readers respond: What’s the biggest barrier to cloud adoption?

Jessica Scarpati Jessica Scarpati Profile: Jessica Scarpati

There’s a litany of reasons why enterprises don’t want to buy public cloud services, but sunk investments in legacy IT tops the list, according to TechTarget’s recent Cloud Pulse survey.

Looking over the results, I thought about how this adoption barrier might be more difficult to overcome than, say, security. I know many of you categorically disagree with that statement, but humor me for a minute: Of course, there are many prospective customers who will never believe the cloud can be secure, no matter what a cloud provider’s strategy or messaging is. But there’s definitely a population that’s willing to consider cloud services if providers strengthen their IT security strategies, embrace transparency, conduct third-party audits and so on. I guess what I’m saying is there are tangible steps cloud providers can take to further fortify the cloud, and they have an opportunity to demonstrate this and possibly change the hearts and minds of enterprise IT pros.

But it seemed to me that there isn’t much a cloud provider can do when an enterprise isn’t interested in hearing the cloud pitch because it’s already sunk hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars into its internal [fill in the blank, e.g., storage area network, CRM deployment, development platforms].

I spoke to several cloud providers about all this for a recent story we published, Why CIOs have problems with cloud computing: Sunk costs in legacy IT. You can (and should!) check out the story to see how providers such as Microsoft, Savvis and Bluelock are dealing with this issue (spoiler alert: hybrid cloud is a common denominator), but I also wanted to share some of the really great reader feedback we’ve received in the comments section of this article.

We asked readers what they thought the biggest barrier to cloud adoption might be. Here are a few interesting responses we got:

  • “In my point of view, solution providers still do not have a coherent [go to market], and, in most cases, they fail to provide a real business value proposition. The adoption of the model is restricted to IT service islands. In most cases, the focus remains on mere cost reduction rather than the possibility of having access to computing resources and preconfigured applications that add performance to companies into a new level of information processing and management, that only the mega corporations have today, through direct investment in IT assets, applications and IT and systems specialists.”
  • “Empire’s [sic] built – similar to the sunk IT investment, can often be a big barrier. A CIO who clings to the concept of “building his empire” doesn’t want to lose that piece of his crown to an outsourced provider. If an IT Manager sees installing infrastructure as his key strength and can’t adapt to the new services model, keeping the status quo is a safe play. It takes a CIO or other C level managers to reconsider what an IT department provides and whether it is best placed to provide it. I think an IT department can be equated with the public service – where it is run lean, it adds value, but as a bloated empire it just acts as a roadblock for innovation.”
  • “I believe the real reason around the “fear factor” syndrome of Security is not IT security but job security. Loss of control is a huge factor which individuals are downplaying. Most companies will not consider allowing their core transactional systems and applications to reside off site. Also a detailed transition plan that allows migration in phases is a must for any cloud business case which is sorely lacking and in most cases excludes a vital issue and that is a mutual sharing of risk and benefits.”
  • “It could be a combination. Big Firms typically want to have their infrastructure managed internally. It is not the question of money but security, tradesecrets etc. Cloud can be good solution for SMBs,other organizations and can help generate new businesses and bring IT to businesses that can not afford Big IT. In my opinion, both IBM and Microsoft have good offerings on Cloud along with Salesforce.”
What’s your take? Leave a comment on this blog, or scroll to the bottom of the story to join the discussion there.

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