Is your Company on the “Observer,” “Opportunist,” “Solutioner” – or another – Cloud Adoption Path? | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

Posted On February 1, 2012

Wondering where, how, and why CIOs and enterprises are adopting cloud, and what they’re doing to make cloud services a practical reality in their organizations? If so, you’re not alone. The reality is that significant confusion exists among both CIOs and cloud service providers (CSPs) around what’s really happening in the enterprise market. And this is understandable, as the variables in and dynamics of the cloud market are truly unprecedented.

But our recent discussions with over 50 CIOs and IT executives at Global 2000 organizations have demonstrated that a set of enterprise cloud adoption paths are beginning to emerge, each of which is driven by variations on a number of dimensions.

Here’s how we characterize the companies following each of these new paths to the cloud:

Observers

These enterprises are taking a “we’ll get there when we’re ready” stance on cloud adoption. While IT executives in these organizations recognize the agility, flexibility, and cost benefits of cloud models, they do not feel a compelling business or IT need exists to begin migration today. Indeed, instead of proactive exploration, they are more comfortable waiting for an adoption trigger.

Opportunists

In these organizations, cloud is primarily opportunistic business unit (BU) or functional adoption of SaaS applications and collaboration tools. The IT groups in these organizations largely believe that although valuable, cloud services are evolutionary, and just another tool in the toolkit, and there is little, if any, centralized management or governance.

Solutioners

These enterprises are more systematically approaching cloud adoption by identifying, prioritizing, and deploying cloud for use cases particularly well-suited for public or private cloud delivery models. In these organizations, both IT and BUs (sometimes collaboratively) are pursuing a programmatic approach to migration. The focus is not on developing a comprehensive strategy across the entire application or workload portfolio, but rather on identifying “low hanging fruit” for use cases that can deliver immediate, demonstrable impact.

Transformers

Enterprises following this path are leveraging cloud technologies to drive wide-scale IT transformation or modernization programs across their complete application and workload portfolio. CIOs in these enterprises are seen as change agents seeking to transform the responsiveness and delivery capabilities of their IT organizations, are working to understand and assess the governance, management, and integration implications of cloud migration, and actively designing solutions to support their next generation IT organization.

Providers

These enterprising enterprises are seeking to leverage private cloud platforms and technologies to create internal cloud service marketplaces, essentially building their own internal-use equivalents of Amazon Web Services. They are looking to transform not only their IT infrastructure but also their IT business models. In conjunction with private cloud deployments, they are also implementing (or expanding) their use of cloud service catalogs and chargeback models. While on the surface it may appear that this is just implementation of traditional IT service management (ITSM) models, the difference is that IT is now facing real competition from external CSPs for the budget dollars of their BU customers.

On which path is your enterprise? Was it your intention to be on that path, or were you driven there by unintentional factors?  To learn more about the characteristics of these cloud adoption paths, and the implications CIOs must consider to drive desired levels of adoption and ensure success, please read our recently-released Executive Point of View Paper, “Emerging Enterprise Cloud Adoption Paths: The Journey is the Destination.”

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