- The cloud services industry is beginning to blame IT for slower-than-desired enterprise adoption
- SPs and suppliers should focus on winning over IT managers, not alienating them
Service providers selling, technology suppliers building and financial folks investing are all beginning to play the blame game when it comes to the migration of cloud services into enterprise environments. It’s been my position, along with many others in the industry, that wide scale, truly flexible, multi-supplier Whatever-as-a-Service (WaaS) is a very long-term proposition for mid- to large-sized enterprises. The list of reasons why is lengthy, with questions about security and compliance the most oft-cited, along with significant issues around legacy apps migration. Certainly usage of certain types of cloud services—particularly software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings for functions such as HR administration and sales force automation—are selling briskly in all sorts of businesses, but especially at the lower end of the scale. And our own survey of 1,000 large enterprises shows that a very high percentage of IT shops are dabbling with cloud services to at least some degree. But dabbling it is—less than 5% of IT needs, in most cases—rather than investing heavily.
This pace is perceived as too slow by many of those with a financial stake in the matter. Who are the culprits in their minds? IT executives and managers, who are increasingly seen as digging their heels in unnecessarily, blocking the inevitable triumph of hosted bliss with all their rules and regulations and desire to maximize their technology investments—which, at the end of the day, is what they are paid to do. At a San Francisco Bay Area conference I participated in recently dedicated to all things cloud, I listened to a parade of my fellow speakers berate and mock IT management for their tunnel vision with regard to cloud services. Their general position is that cloud is better (fair enough, although don’t examine the buy-versus-rent economics too closely), and that line-of-business managers should just bypass IT, who they perceive to be mere guardians of the archaic.
I readily admit that this is an overly simplistic recitation of the gripe against IT in the cloud service discussion, but it is nevertheless the core of the an emerging viewpoint—a viewpoint that should be dismissed by corporate managers eager to leverage the best of technology and services to run more efficient and competitive businesses. The great promise of cloud services—and it is tremendous—lies in the effective blending of those services with company-owned resources in a cost- and functionally-optimized way. Ideally, one plus one will equal three. The IT department is best equipped to lead the way (acknowledging that certain IT types may need to get enlightened in the process). And my gentle advice to cloud service providers and technology suppliers is that the best way to accelerate enterprise adoption is to win over IT, not alienate it.