Don’t Get Angry, Get Experience

M. Halama

M. Halama

Summary Bullets:

  • Later adopters learn from occasional disappointments of early public cloud services users
  • Broadening cloud classes (public, hybrid, private) complement traditional services

There’s some industry talk of a backlash against the cloud. That’s inevitable, given the hype over its promise. In general though, ‘backlash’ presents things too strongly – some individuals understandably feel angry, but market-wide momentum is still behind the uptake of cloud services.

Outsourcing markets occasionally have some companies returning projects in-house, even while the industry trend continues towards outsourcing – one such return to in-sourcing was in 2002-2003, two to three years after the dotcom bubble, so perhaps any spreading cloud disaffection correlates with the 2008-2009 credit crisis and downturn. In any event, the cloud market is still developing, so it is not yet constant.

The dissent is often among those using public cloud services – whether for production services by smaller businesses or relatively minor test and development (perhaps ‘undercover’) projects by larger enterprises.  This may presage problems of user churn for providers in this market once it matures – though they should be prepared for individual extremes of ‘elasticity’ in the cloud services they offer to customers. (Users may be able to leverage this for loyalty rewards.)

Even here it’s not disaffection with the cloud technology or service that’s at the heart of things so much as users finding that the public cloud doesn’t fulfill every need of their business. Those needs can be for specific features, or related to corporate policies (perhaps security or change policies), or even funding arrangements.  Although the cloud has become commonly understood to offer universal pay-as-you-go, OpEx-only salvation for user companies that wish to eliminate CapEx, this common understanding, in isolation, is an unrealistic expectation of the cloud relative to the complex needs of larger organizations in particular.

In many instances, moving to the cloud involves great preparation and investment beyond any new cloud services. User organizations with extensive and complex needs should invest time in assessments of current positions and objectives, optimization (rationalization and replacement) of existing hardware and applications, training and education – capital investment may also be needed. Hybrid and private clouds are often more suitable production environments for these organizations – but sometimes traditional managed and outsourced services remain the best choice and complement to cloud. The cloud model is still maturing but with the benefit of hindsight, later adopters are now better placed to determine their cloud strategies.

IT service providers such as HP Enterprise Services and IBM Global Services can help big companies develop cloud strategies after educational workshops and technology assessments and offer vendor finance.  Others such as Colt have a reputation for working also with smaller businesses, while Rackspace and others provide for smaller companies and those that seek open-source cloud solutions. BT Global Services, T-Systems, Verizon Business, Dimension Data, Fujitsu, Cable & Wireless Worldwide and many others around the world offer comparable services – it’s time to shop around.

Many companies have yet to make a move with the cloud. Current Analysis surveyed hundreds of European enterprises’ cloud service usage and plans, which showed that 56% intend to make cloud moves during 2011, 2012 and early 2013. (Current Analysis’ Webinar ‘Current Reality: A Look at Cloud Opportunities Beyond the Hype’ is available for clients to replay for a closer look. Other surveys have been conducted in the US and Asia Pacific.)  To avoid disappointment in the cloud, all businesses that have yet to make cloud moves should study the experience of early adopters – including service providers that have developed solutions based on their early on-demand experiences. Early adopters, even angry ones, should refrain from throwing away lessons learned that can better inform their choices of cloud services and service providers that are available now.

So don’t get angry, get experience on your side to make the most of the cloud.

About Michal Halama
As a Principal Analyst for the Current Analysis Business Network and IT Services team in Europe, Michal's coverage areas include leading and emerging providers of managed services. He has a special focus on managed unified communications, data center services and the cloud.

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