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Manuel Pallage, General Manager at NSI
Oracle’s latest Cloud Insights research has found that less than 30 per cent of enterprise apps currently reside in the cloud. With the benefits of cloud adoption so well-known, we spoke to Manuel Pallage, General Manager at NSI, to discuss the obstacles that are holding enterprises back from achieving transformation through the cloud.
Placing your IT in the cloud is the beginning of a long-term relationship. As the saying goes, “marry in haste, repent at leisure”, and that applies as much to the cloud as it does to marriages.
That’s why I’m reasonably relaxed by the findings in Oracle’s new research. As a company that helps customers with application development and infrastructure deployments, we’re keen to help end users start realizing the benefits that cloud can bring. But we also understand that each business moves at its own pace, and faces unique challenges that might slow their pace of cloud adoption.
As the report points out, cloud application deployment is a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. This tallies with our experience, which is that senior management is usually perfectly aware of the benefits of cloud. Yet there is clearly something that’s preventing organisations placing that critical mass of applications into the cloud.
In my view, the main obstacles to cloud adoption are maturity and mind set. What I mean by this is that many organisations aren’t psychologically ready to move their key business data off their own premises. They worry, for example, that moving to the cloud somehow represents a gamble with their security.
It’s understandable that organisations are nervous about making this leap into the unknown, especially given the spate of high profile hacks and security incidents over the last couple of years. But the idea that keeping your applications and data on-premises is safer than trusting a reputable cloud provider, with all their security resources and expertise, shows how much work we must do to change end users’ mind set.
“Placing your IT in the cloud is the beginning of a long-term relationship. As the saying goes, “marry in haste, repent at leisure”, and that applies as much to the cloud as it does to marriages.”
Unfortunately, the problem often lies in organisations’ IT department which, for a variety of reasons, are reluctant to see their application estate migrate to the cloud. They may often have very good reasons for arguing against this strategic shift, such as a lack of IT maturity or the difficulty of moving legacy applications; at the same time, it may be down to a simple desire not to relinquish control over their empire.
Ultimately, the IT department in any organisation carries enormous clout, and quite rightly so. But when IT takes a protectionist attitude and seeks to retain as many applications in-house as possible, this can end up damaging the business’ wider strategy.
We feel that to close this disconnect there has to be a strong, pro-cloud voice coming from the board, which means arming them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and, where necessary, correct their misconceptions about the cloud.
“In my view, the main obstacles to cloud adoption are maturity and mind set. What I mean by this is that many organisations aren’t psychologically ready to move their key business data off their own premises.”
These conversations should cover factors such as security – for example, by pointing out how the overwhelming majority of high-profile security incidents are not caused by cloud, but rather by poor internal security practices and overstretched IT teams.
We also need to find a more sophisticated way of talking about the cost savings of cloud. When one presents a cloud solution to an IT director or FD, they will always seize on the OPEX / CAPEX figures. Important as these are, it’s a rather reductive way of explaining the long-term benefits of cloud. Traditional TCO costs tend to focus too much on the hardware, whereas the cloud industry has developed many innovative new cost models in recent years which should give a much more comprehensive and compelling rationale for moving to the cloud.
Providing this clarity is especially important because we often see IT departments take advantage of this “fuzziness” over costs as an excuse to keep infrastructure and applications in-house. Even when data security or location isn’t an issue – for example, with an ERP application – a lack of clarity over the cost model can stymie the deal, to the detriment of both vendor and end user.
Oracle’s research should serve as a wake-up call for vendors, and especially their marketing departments, to focus on educating decision-makers at board level. While they shouldn’t neglect the advantages of moving apps to the cloud, they should anticipate the common arguments against migration, such as costs and security.
One way of doing this is to use the example of start-ups – especially those that are competing with, and stealing market share from your customers. None of these disruptive new businesses contemplated having a server in their own offices. They are not using the cloud because they are strapped for cash – even start-ups that are awash with VC funding are taking a cloud-first approach; nor do they have the slightest worry about keeping their data and intellectual property in the cloud.
While cloud vendors should ultimately stress the positive benefits of placing their applications in the cloud, they shouldn’t be afraid of gently reminding customers of the risk of letting their competitors stealing a march on them. If we focus our efforts on education, then we can expect to see many more ‘cloud mature’ companies in next year’s report.