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August 27, 2015

UK slow & stiff in cloud & mobile apps

UK is behind global counterparts when it comes to cloud agility, while 30 percent have no idea what PaaS actually is.

By Alexander Sword

According to Oracle‘s Cloud Agility study, only 21 percent of UK respondents fully understand public cloud platform-as-a-service (Paas).

This number significantly lags behind more aggressive global counterparts such as the US (37 per cent, Germany (43 per cent), France (35 per cent) and China (34 per cent).

Oracle’s John Abel, Engineered Systems & Public Technology Cloud Leader for UK, Ireland and Israel, suggests that this lack of cloud understanding is the result of the UK moving too slow on hybrid cloud adoption.

"[The findings] lead me to think that because of the more aggressive nature in China and the US, they’ve actually gone towards [the hybrid cloud] sooner than us. So if we did this report in a year’s time, I bet the barometer would move to very similar to the other regions."

This lack of cloud knowledge has a direct impact on the agility of a business, with the agility benefits delivered by PaaS not being leveraged by EMEA businesses.

In fact, according to the survey, 59 percent of EMEA businesses either cannot, or do not know if they can shift workloads between public, private, and hybrid clouds, and migrate on-premises applications to the cloud.

Cloud understanding was not the only area in which the UK lagged behind, with serious failings in app development and deployment being highlighted by the research findings.

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When asked how long it took for businesses to develop, test and deploy new apps for use on mobile, 29 percent of respondents in the UK could do so within six months, and 6 percent in two weeks.

This was, again, outstripped by China, which had 52 percent delivering apps within a six month period. Impressively, 12 percent of US respondents could deliver in two weeks, double the UK figure.

"If you think of China and the US developing very fast apps for mobile and the UK is slower, we’re going to look much less competitive." Abel told CBR.

"So the US is much more progressive than the UK in new mobile apps, and the UK has got less, but we had a lot more in the up to a year period compared to the others. The question that raises is what’s the barrier to adapting things quicker and being more agile, with mobile apps being a frontier for enterprises to worry about."

The figures revealed a huge disparity in the delivery of apps, versus the business importance placed on them. 78 percent of EMEA respondents stated that the ability to rapidly develop, test, and launch new business applications as either important or critically important to the success of their business.

In fact, a staggering 30 per cent of respondents believe the effective mobilisation of applications and services is the most important factor for business success today when it comes to IT infrastructure.

Added pressure is coming from competitors, with 27% of EMEA respondents naming the ability of competitors to launch innovative customer services more quickly as the top threat to business.

Abel, however, does not want businesses to panic.

"Don’t panic if you develop an app for a mobile solution for customers that only lasts six months. The customers are not loyal in that way anymore. We’ve seen it many times before with the internet in how something is fashionable today but not fashionable tomorrow."

Abel advised businesses and UK businesses in particular to place more emphasis on change management and agility.

"The challenge isn’t the ability to accept technology quickly but having the right skills and capability to bring that technology on and having the right change management programme in place to get people skilled up," added Abel.

"If I were someone looking at my IT capability, I’d definitely want to have much more change management and skills around how we procure cloud, how we create service catalogues and how we become more agile to give the business a quicker root to innovation.

The Oracle report surveyed 1004 employees working in large enterprises in EMEA.

*Edited by Ellie Burns

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