Although demand for Cloud services continues to grow at unprecedented rates, there are still plenty of pitfalls to successfully migrating current or new workloads to the Cloud, according to a recent survey conducted by THINKstrategies in conjunction with INetU.
Of the 358 respondents to our survey, 43% have had a failed or stalled Cloud project implementation. Of these, nearly half had cost overruns relative to their original budgets. Two-thirds had to change their Cloud environment from the original plan within a year, and more than 50% had to make a change in the first 6 months.
These mediocre results are not a very good calling card for Cloud companies, and given the respondents’ experiences it isn’t surprising that only 27% of the participants in our survey were extremely satisfied with their overall experience.
Our survey doesn’t discount the unprecedented benefits that today’s Cloud services are delivering elsewhere. But it does raise serious questions regarding whether gaining these benefits is just a matter of pointing and clicking on an ‘off-the-shelf’ Cloud service.
While I’ve always been a tireless advocate for the fundamental advantages of Cloud-based alternatives to traditional on-premise systems and software, I’m also a realist who believes our survey findings show that there are still plenty of potential pitfalls associated with migrating important business applications and processes to the Cloud.
Part of the problem is that the Cloud players have successfully ‘Cloudwashed’ their customers in thinking that moving to the Cloud is an easy process. It may be easy to turn on a Cloud service, but calibrating it correctly to properly support specific applications and workloads takes more skills and experience than generally resides within most organizations. In fact, our survey found that the issues we uncovered affected just as many large-scale enterprises as small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).
So, what’s the answer?
Our survey found that companies that had their Cloud architecture designed by an experienced service provider, worked closely with the provider through the deployment process and leveraged the provider’s managed services to continuously monitor their performance, were far more likely to be successful and satisfied with the benefits they attained.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but in today’s highly competitive market, in which many Cloud providers are in a ‘race to the bottom’ and competing on price, the importance of delivering a lifecycle of services is getting lost.
So, IT and other corporate decision-makers need to pay more attention to selecting Cloud service providers based on their ability to understand their business needs and provide expert support through the planning, deployment and ongoing management stages of the migration process rather than dwelling on their ‘speeds and feeds’.
Kaplan is Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), an independent consulting firm focused on the business implications of the on-demand services movement. He is also the founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace (www.cloudshowplace.com), and the host of the Cloud Innovators Summit series (www.cloudsummits.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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