Perhaps no other technology has driven more innovation in the enterprise in recent years than cloud. Transitioning to the cloud will be crucial for organisations to accelerate digital transformation, remain competitive and meet business objectives.
With solutions typically being cost effective, scalable, secure and flexible, it is inevitable that companies will continue to review the possibilities of cloud to help them underpin future ways of working.
Yet disparity still exists between the perception of cloud and the confidence organisations have in its real-world application – with the majority of businesses still in the early stages of their cloud journey.
While many enterprises recognise the advantages of moving to the cloud, they are often overwhelmed by the possible complexities involved.
Arguably a level of mistrust and misunderstanding still holds back UK organisations from taking the plunge and migrating to the cloud. To address this, both a cultural and educational reform is needed.
Cloud Perception vs. Application
One thing is certain – businesses are serious about the cloud. Citrix recently surveyed IT decision-makers to discover the current state of cloud strategies across large UK organisations: 89 percent of respondents stated that cloud is extremely or quite important to their organisation, with the number rising to 93 per cent among the largest organisations with annual turnovers above £500 million.
The data also revealed that the majority of UK businesses believe that employing cloud technology will help them to increase productivity (with 87 per cent viewing this as the key benefit to cloud adoption), cut costs and improve software performance.
Despite this, there is a notable gap between belief in cloud and the real-world confidence IT decision-makers have in its strategic application. While 91 per cent of companies have implemented a cloud strategy or plan to put one in place imminently, the majority of these strategies are in their infancy. In fact, only 38 per cent of companies currently store more than half of their data in the cloud, with 59 per cent still accessing and managing their data on premises. Clearly there is still a long way to go before the cloud’s application and fit is truly customised to harness its full potential.
Educating the C-Suite
Those at a senior management level often lack full understanding of what it means to use the cloud to manage and store data, frequently relying on middle management to own such processes. Currently, 52 per cent of IT decision makers consider middle management within their organisation to have a good understanding of cloud, while the figure stood at just 39 per cent for board members. While boards do not necessarily need to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of cloud, they certainly need the ability to understand and communicate the benefits this technology offers their business.
So, what is IT leadership to do? For efficient cloud adoption, we need to tackle business culture once and for all. The key here will be further education for board level individuals, supported by IT leaders and accompanied by a clear signal that this adjustment is vital to ensuring that cloud services bring about improvements for the business.
Security Concerns Remain
Hybrid cloud models represent an alluring option for enterprises. This is because they are able to couple a private cloud with public cloud systems to achieve the best possible performance level. However, security concerns still exist when it comes to cloud – especially public and hybrid cloud models.
In fact, a recent Gartner survey revealed that cloud still ranks as the top risk concern at many organisations. A lack of education amongst board level individuals offers one explanation as to why security fears still persist over the use of these cloud models, with large companies more confident in private cloud platforms to store their data securely.
In light of this, it is not surprising that private cloud is the most prevalent model for 61 per cent of UK businesses. Currently, only 36 per cent of companies also use public cloud and just 25 per cent have implemented a hybrid cloud model. A cultural and educational reform is clearly needed to effectively change such perceptions of hybrid cloud models. If this is successful, it will open up the platforms’ full potential to deliver a range of business advantages. In all likelihood, a hybrid-multi-cloud – often including public cloud – will become the reality for many enterprises.
Most IT budget-holders agree that cloud can improve productivity, lower costs and optimise performance, as part of a digital transformation agenda.
However, as more organisations seek the transformative power of cloud services, a cultural and educational shake-up is required to communicate the benefits of this technology effectively.
While there is still a gap to be bridged between boardrooms and IT decision-makers when it comes to implementing cloud technology, there should be few barriers to hold cloud adoption back once its application is fully understood across the business.