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November 24, 2014

Enterprises ‘play it safe’ with cloud

Strategic cloud deployment held back by vision and skills.

By Ellie Burns

A chasm, based on the differing opinions of the strategic role of the cloud, is beginning to appear between European ICT budget holders and implementers.

New research, conducted by Ovum and sponsored by BT and Cisco, has found that eight out of ten ICT budget holders believe cloud computing will play a critical role in solving their organisation’s business challenges, versus less than half of implementers.

The research highlights how the majority of enterprises are playing it safe, preferring tactical quick wins over cloud-led business transformation projects.

The reason identified for the ‘play it safe’ mentality was the lack of internal skills to risk more strategic deployments, coupled with the fact that enterprises lack the confidence to trust external cloud service providers to deliver on their promises.

Findings indicate that a vicous circle could be created from the tactical approach to cloud; almost half of European enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud environment within two years. For this to be achieved, however, organisations need to upskill or adapt the mix of skills within their IT department.

The research further found that enterprises favour hybrid cloud combinations that suit different business processes and workloads. These configurations demand specialist skills covering the selection, configuration and orchestration of workloads across hybrid environments.

The research suggests that this complexity is helping change European enterprises’ priorities when choosing a cloud supplier. Networked IT service providers and system integrators are emerging as the preferred partners to design, implement and manage private cloud environments.

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"Cloud is no place for amateurs: hybrid cloud environments demand a complex range of skills that few suppliers possess, let alone enterprises," said Camille Mendler of Ovum, who authored the report. "Mastery over application, compute and network — in conjunction, not in isolation — is the core requirement to take cloud computing beyond today’s successful, but tactical usage."

Neil Lock, vice president, BT Compute, BT Global Services, said: "With the arrival of cloud, IT has been transformed almost beyond recognition. We are all too aware, however, that one size does not fit all. Our customers are telling us they want hybrid cloud environments, but at the same time they also want to minimize complexity. We believe this can be achieved with providers that can seamlessly integrate between private and public cloud environments without prejudice and can underpin this with strong consulting skills to help customers deploy configurations that best meet their requirements."

Andy Chew, managing director, Architectures, Cisco UK & Ireland, said: "As the research highlights, the benefits of cloud are clear to business users, but what is now emerging is the realisation that to be truly strategic, hybrid approaches that focus on addressing business needs rather than technology limitations are crucial. To fully benefit from the scalability and agility that cloud offers, the presence of a network of clouds, such as what is being created by the industry through the Intercloud, becomes crucial to success."


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