A new survey by Evolve IP (a cloud services company) finds some conflicting opinions about cloud computing in mid-size enterprises. While most agree that companies will be doing more in the cloud in the future, C-level executives are much more likely than IT managers to describe themselves as “cloud believers.” So, while the CIO may be able to cite you the advantages of elasticity, auto scaling, and efficiency around costs, many IT managers still think cloud computing is an annoying fad.
The survey of 1,182 executives found that at least 70 percent of C-level executives and directors see the value of cloud computing, even describing themselves as “believers.” This in contrast to only 53% of IT managers surveyed, who are not entirely sold on the cloud concept. The survey also finds that, of those already in the cloud, 70 percent say they have realized improved flexibility and scalability.
Reduced resources and fewer servers to hug are not the core issues around the lack of acceptance by those in enterprise IT. Indeed, it’s more about the fact that they have seen trends come and go and thus are skeptical about cloud computing as well. A certain degree of close-mindedness is an outcome of many negative experiences around hyped technology.
The funny thing about cloud computing, versus other technology trends such as SOA, EAI, distributed objects, client/server, and even the rise of the Web, is that now “civilians” are involved. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, and even CEOs know about “the cloud.” While most do not understand the technical details, they know that it’s something that should make our lives better by leveraging very powerful and scalable back-end systems that are cheap or free.
The acceptance and excitement around cloud computing is largely a result of the media grabbing the term “cloud” and running with it in general business journals and many advertisements. Thus, those at the C-Levels hear about the concept of “cloud” from outside sources, and, in many instances, have been more instrumental in driving the promotion of cloud adoption than those in IT. This survey really proves that out.
The problem is that attitudes are unlikely change overnight, and change will only occur around demands from the civilian population. Like other popular IT trends, including the rise of the Web in the 1990s, many in IT will finally adopt this technology, but they will do so “kicking and screaming.”
Moreover, the problem with the “kicking and screaming” method of adoption of any technology is that, in some cases, you’re putting the inmates in charge of the asylum. Many failed cloud computing projects that I see are traceable back to the inability to leverage the right resources for the first or second projects, are even a few instances that are outright sabotage.
The balanced approach is the best way to promote the use of cloud computing. In some instances, IT managers pushing back on cloud computing is the right thing to do. The patterns of success are working from the requirements to the technology, and some push back often helps the overall project become better planned, documented, and defined. Never ever implement cloud computing technology just for the sake of the concept of “the cloud.”
There are some instances where people need to be removed if they are not considering all technologies as potential ways to add value to existing and future enterprise IT resources. While those in enterprise IT should be skeptical of all new trends, cloud computing included, there has to be a strategy in place to examine these new trends.
Enterprise IT needs to adopt what makes sense, and delay or reject trends that may not provide as much value. Dismissing any technology out of hand is never a best practice.
The adoption of cloud computing should be something that’s more systemic than other technology trends, and it does require an understanding at all levels of the organization. This means all C-levels, and IT management. This is due to the fact that cloud computing is as much of a change in the consumption model, as it is in technology.
To reach the right objectives, cloud computing should be driven by those who are truly “agents of change.” However, they should be neither pro nor con, but look at this technology with a balanced view, considering all aspects of the business and with the objective of creating a strategy, roadmap, and a business case that proves the value of cloud computing.
While there is much change required over the next 5 to 7 years, the fundamental change is really the shift in thinking. The patterns of technology remain largely the same, with the consumption models shifting in support of more business agility and business efficiency. You need to pay attention to this one.