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Countering the challenges to cloud adoption

While the benefits of cloud adoption are well known and much talked about, there remains a range of resistance points that cause clients to think twice about moving in this direction. Of course, a good business understands that any challenge also presents an opportunity. With this in mind, The Margin asked well placed experts at four of the biggest local IT players the following question: “What are the challenges and client resistance points to cloud adoption, and how can these be countered and turned into opportunities?”   

AJ HArTENbErG, portfolio manager for datacentre services, T-Systems South Africa AJ HArTENbErG, portfolio manager for datacentre services, T-Systems South Africa
“One of the biggest challenges to the uptake of cloud is a ‘disconnect’ between the mindsets of IT and business. IT often has the view that adopting cloud solutions will cause it to lose control of assets and diminish its ability to add value to the organisation. There also remains an element of concern around the lack of control of data, both in terms of physical location and who has access to the data. legislation and compliance with regulations are another area that’s not well understood with regards to the cloud, and organisations thus tend to hide behind this as a reason against cloud adoption. Furthermore, organisations still don’t have a sound understanding of the various cloud offerings, including public, private and virtual private cloud and the services that can be delivered from each model.

 

“The reality is that cloud will change the role of IT departments from a provider of infrastructure to an aggregator of services. However, as a trusted advisor and provider of services, the IT department will more readily be able to effectively demonstrate its value to the enterprise. Security concerns can only be addressed by ensuring a cloud provider has the most stringent security controls and standards in place. The same holds true for regulations and compliance. Organisations need to ensure the cloud provider complies with relevant laws and frameworks. ultimately, the right cloud provider – one that offers cloud broker and integration services – will be able to offer organisations more control, better security, more effective services at a more cost-effective rate, without the need to lock them in to services from a single provider.”

 

“Cloud exists in three variants: private, public and hybrid. The conservative approach is to plot a journey from the existing environment to a fully public cloud

ALLAN WATTruS, director: Outsource Optimisation at Bytes Systems Integration ALLAN WATTruS, director: Outsource Optimisation at Bytes Systems Integration
environment, by migrating through private and hybrid architectures. Challenges with migration to private cloud are mostly around application readiness, infrastructure maturity, bandwidth requirements, hosting facilities and capacity, competence of staff to support the environment and access security. Building a private cloud is a significant outlay, which ultimately reduces operating cost and improves asset utilisation, but most organisations have little experience to depend on and the exercise is not trivial. The journey usually includes server and storage consolidation, virtualisation and network convergence before the private cloud is realised.

“Perceptions of risk associated with public and hybrid cloud include all of the above and additionally, issues of data sovereignty, data security, support availability, back-out options, accessibility (dependence on web-based data links often off-shore) and, in some instances, currency variation. Once these issues are addressed, a bold approach is to switch one application at a time; such as moving all users to an external mail service and decommissioning the Exchange servers. This is likely to leave a remnant of bespoke or custom solutions behind for which a ready cloud solution is not necessarily available. For many organisations a certain level of competitive advantage exists in their core systems and applications, so migration to a cloud solution may pose a strategic risk, including loss of autonomy and dependencies without control.”

 

 

Andy Brauer, CTO, Business Connexion Andy Brauer, CTO, Business Connexion
“This starts with who in the organisation you’re asking and what’s driving the decision. Even before the cloud is considered, what’s the basic problem and what needs to be solved? Once the problem is identified, companies should then use the problem statement and run it past the other questions, like ‘does it make financial and business sense?’, and ‘will the technology choice be able to adapt to the fast-changing business demands?’

“This is what should happen. However, many of the real points are based on fear of the unknown and even threat. not only of the technology, but also fear of having positions in the company changed. Of course, this fear can be transformed into opportunity, particularly as areas like digitisation and automation offer the kinds of new directions where cloud really starts to provide business benefit.”

 

 

“My experience in cloud has shown me that the real resistance to cloud is not the publicised fear factors like security or bandwidth restrictions. Instead, most clients are missing what I call ‘the light bulb moment’ with cloud. This is when the customer realises how effectively they can use the consumptive nature of cloud for a particular application. For example, it could be when they realise that they can switch off test and

Grant Morgan, GM: IT as a Service, Dimension Data MEA Grant Morgan, GM: IT as a Service, Dimension Data MEA
development systems when not in use and not have to pay for them during that time, or understand that it’s possible to pay per hour for disaster recovery (DR) services only at that critical moment of a disaster, or perhaps when they need to do a DR test.

“Realising how significant the savings can be suddenly propels them into action and the typical hindrances become considerations to be overcome in the project. The solution here is customer education on ‘true cloud’ capabilities and clearing the noise from ‘would be’ cloud vendors that have cluttered customer understanding. A consultative approach with the client is clearly required as they experiment and take their fi rst steps on their cloud journey.”

 

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