The enterprise cloud adoption survey jointly conducted by Everest Group and Cloud Connect in mid 2012 shows very interesting trends. Unlike other surveys, this effort includes all the cloud market participants such as cloud providers, buyers, third-party advisors, consulting firms, and cloud enablers. This ensures a 360o view of the market.
The survey summary report is now available and can be downloaded here.
The top five messages emerging out of this survey effort are:
Buyers are willing to transform their infrastructure and business application landscape leveraging cloud models. The growing need for data intensive applications, quicker time to market, flexible infrastructure, and data management is driving this transformation. The survey indicates that over 85% of enterprise buyers have already deployed or plan to deploy cloud-based infrastructure solutions.
Buyers and providers of cloud services need to find a common ground on understanding challenges in cloud adoption. Though security and integration challenges top the list, the buyers believe that their management is more than willing to deploy cloud solutions whereas providers see lack of management buy-in from the buyers as an important barrier.
There is a disconnect between what the buyers hold valuable and what the providers believe is important in cloud adoption. Adopters believe that cloud model enables them to improve top line by increasing productivity and reducing the time to market. Moreover, reduction of total cost of ownership does not drive their cloud adoption whereas providers see it as the most important factor.
Cloud delivery models are significantly impacting the traditional IT buying centers. The survey shows that a considerable portion of IT budget is increasingly getting allocated to the businesses. Moreover, individual business leaders (including C-level executives) have more say in cloud decisions over IT, procurement, or the finance team.
Overall, the sentiments of buyers of cloud services remain very positive. Most of them met their objective, especially from cloud infrastructure solutions. The survey reveals that ~65% of buyers met their objectives from cloud deployment and ~90% decision makers believe that their cloud adoption will increase in the future.
The survey shows that though currently a large part of cloud adoption is driven by industry-agnostic offering, there is a considerable demand for industry specific solutions. We believe that industry flavors will become prominent once a critical mass of cloud adoption is achieved.
Though the survey showed disconnect between the perspective of buyers and providers in cloud adoption, it also revealed common ground on various aspects. For example, in key decision criteria for cloud evaluation, both the buyers and providers believe that security, contract terms and SLAs, fair pricing, and tenure of the provider are important parameter. We believe these common grounds are good for the industry and development of the cloud market as it aligns the expectations of various market participants and should help in creating relevant cloud services.
Overall the enterprise cloud adoption survey shows that despite all the challenges, confusion, barriers, and other issues, market participants are upbeat about cloud adoption. The buyers are quite satisfied with the outcome of cloud adoption within their enterprise IT set-up. Not only is this positive for the industry, but it also establishes the fact that, unlike other hyped-up trends, cloud delivery models are here to stay.
I will be speaking more about the survey results at Cloud Connect Chicago on September 12. We also have an excellent speaker lineup for the Organizational Readiness track, including thoughts leaders from Cisco, InterContinental Hotels Group, salesforce.com, Morningstar, Fidelity, Neovise and Cloudscaling. Read my blog from earlier this month for a sneak preview of the track sessions. Use code EVERESTGRP to receive 25% off conference passes or claim a free expo pass. I look forward to seeing you at Cloud Connect!
This blog originally appeared on Cloud Connect Blog. Read the original post.
GE’s Jack Welch once stated, “Change before you have to.” While it’s certainly sage advice, with virtually everything in the cloud computing world evolving so rapidly – the offerings, the providers, the implementation strategies, and the buyers, who these days are most typically business users rather than IT – it’s dauntingly difficult to decide what, how, when and with whom to change.
Yet, following in the footsteps of the highly successful, inaugural Organizational Readiness track at the Cloud Connect conference in February 2012, the sessions at the September 11-12 event in Chicago are all designed to cut through the clutter, and provide deep insights on the organizational issues that are threatening to thwart cloud-oriented next generation IT success.
In “New World Order: Your Dev Team Just Became the CIO” session, industry analyst Vanessa Alvarez and Cisco’s Laura Cooney will discuss the emergence of developers as decision makers, what organizations are doing to adjust to this revolution, the technologies to look at, and pitfalls to avoid.
With budgets increasingly migrating to “shadow” IT driven by business users, it is more critical than ever for CIOs to understand how to serve and enable this new buyer group in a next generation IT environment. During the “Tough Questions You Need to Ask” session, business users who have driven major cloud initiatives will provide answers to questions CIOs may be afraid to ask.
The panel session “Hard Choices in Enterprise Cloud Adoption” will feature three 15-minute drill-down presentations that provide insight into the major choices and decisions organizations face around:
Open versus Closed Cloud Infrastructures, and the pros and cons of each
Forklift versus Greenfield, and how to determine if you should first focus on moving existing applications to a virtualized environment, or deploy a new infrastructure for greenfield applications
Now versus Later, to help CIOs evaluate whether they should accelerate or put a hold on their enterprises’ move to the cloud
“Current Thinking in Addressing Persistent Cloud Challenges” will examine Security and Compliance, Performance, Vendor Management and Lock-In issues, and provide practical, real-world examples of how panelists’ and other organizations are creatively addressing them.
If you haven’t yet registered for Cloud Connect, I hope you’ll visit the conference registration page and sign up today. Use code EVERESTGRPto receive 25% off conference passes or claim a free expo pass. You’ll unquestionably gain strategic, tactical and actionable insights on how to shine much needed light into all things cloud. As Chair of the Organizational Readiness track, I look forward to seeing you in Chicago in September!
A lot has changed in the short six months since our initial blog on on the emerging enterprise cloud adoption paths. Recent discussions with cloud infrastructure service providers clearly show that CIOs and corporate IT seem to be interested in talking about cloud, and RFP flow is definitely increasing, but we’re not seeing conversion to contracts and revenue. One statement by a leading cloud service provider was particularly interesting:
“The cloud RFPs we’re seeing from enterprise IT are really strange, and poorly thought out. It’s like they’re just going through the process to get someone off their back…”
At the same time, there does appear to be an acceleration of enteprise spend on cloud, including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.
So what gives?
While there are a number of factors in play, we’re finding the biggest one is the role of the business user, and how cloud is eroding the monopoly corporate IT has traditonally had over information technology, services, and even infrastructure. People tend to forget that developer teams are frequently embedded in business units and deparments. They have budget approval limits, but typically high enough that they can spin up dev / test environments on Amazon AWS, for example, with no flags being raised. They no longer have to go to corporate IT to get a server provisioned, or a test environment setup. This is IT budget now flowing through the business, though through technical and not business resources.
As a result, IT is under significant pressure as it sees its budget dollars being threatened. It hasn’t fully figured out the implications of cloud for its IT organization, but can’t appear to be a roadblock to the business. What we see, although not in every enterprise IT organization, is a pretty substantial increase in tire-kicking, pilots and “RFPs” to give the illusion of progress.
Based on an additional set of conversations, analyses, and insights from recent client work, we’ve updated our enterprise cloud adoption framework to more strongly reflect the business buying dynamic. This new framework is defined by two major dimensions:
Change Agent – is the primary driver of cloud adoption led by business or IT?
Adoption Approach – is the organization looking at how cloud and next generation platforms could fundamentally transform its business or IT environment? Or is it looking at more tactical, incremental opportunities being presented by cloud applications, platforms, or infrastructure?
Based on these factors, here’s our new framework and overview of the different ways we’re seeing enterprises migrating to the cloud:
Enterprise Cloud Adoption Paths
A quick note on the different models:
By far the most common enterprise adoption model we’re seeing is driven predominantly by business users implementing cloud solutions for new business capabilities, improved agility, flexibility, or reach. This adoption is coming in several flavors:
SaaS – in the majority of cases, business users are directly deploying SaaS business or collaboration apps at the individual, departmental, or business unit level.
PaaS / IaaS – for deploying new custom apps, or in some cases replatforming existing apps, developers with reporting lines into the business are deploying cloud with limited involvement from corporate IT.
Adoption is largely driven by individuals, departments, or functions around and outside of IT (even in the case of IaaS and PaaS). Business users want to innovate, recognize they can do it themselves, and feel empowered to do so.
The next most common model is corporate IT driving cloud adoption, albeit for specific, focused use cases. The goal is not broad transformation for “how IT does business,” but targeted adoption to prove the model, or to demonstrate improvements in efficiency and cost. Some of the most frequent use cases include:
Test / dev environments (under IT control)
Corporate and marketing websites
Backup and archival
Email and collaboration
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
The private cloud is still the preferred model for corporate enterprise IT, with most CIOs looking to play it safe with known enterprise vendors like IBM, VMware, or VCE. Note that the 20 percent in the Cloud Adoption Paths graphic above does not refer to the percentage of enterprise IT organizations that are pursuing cloud, but rather the number of companies in which cloud adoption is being driven predominantly by an “IT opportunist” model.
While they are the exception, a few enterprises’ CIOs are using next generation IT platforms to drive wide-scale modernization and transformation of their environments. These CIOs are viewing private, public, and hybrid cloud models as vehicles for fundamentally changing their infrastructure strategy, and are actively seeking to get their organizations out of the data center business. Although rare, two of the more interesting examples we’ve recently seen include:
State Street – Chris Perretta, CIO at State Street, is seeking to drive $600 million in cost reduction by 2014 by leveraging private clouds to streamline application development. State Street historically has relied heavily on internally developed, custom software, with app dev representing 20-25 percent of the total IT budget. Through standardizing on common, private cloud developments platforms (based on x86-based public cloud models) and encouraging code sharing and reuse, State Street believes it can reduce test times by 30 percent, and the overall amount of code written by 30-40 percent. As with other examples we’re starting to see, standardization and simplification is being leveraged to drive significant improvements in process and cost efficiencies.
CP Rail – finding itself unable to keep pace with user demands, CP Rail launched a broad, multi-year infrastructure transformation initiative to dramatically reduce cycle times and costs, while still supporting increasing volumes. It has already developed a global hybrid cloud dev/test network across operations in Canada, India, and Singapore, which relies heavily on AWS. Interestingly, CP Rail places as much emphasis on process (agile development) and organizational transformation as it does on technology. For those interested in more of the details, a great presentation describing the initiative is available here.
These are enterprises using cloud and other next generation IT platforms to create new disruptive business models, transformational improvement in growth and profitability, and strategic advantage. The starting point for their discussion is not around cloud technology, but how to use the agility, flexibility, reach, and cost effectiveness of cloud to enable new business strategies. Business executives are typically the emerging change agents. The best example in the public domain is:
Netflix – the classic example of a transformer is Netflix, which cannibalized its highly profitable DVD-by-mail model with an online subscription-based streaming model. After concluding it couldn’t build data centers and infrastructure quickly enough to meet user demand, the company famously leveraged AWS to scale its streaming and back-end operations. Netflix has not added data center capacity since 2008, and currently runs all streaming apps, infrastructure and back-end applications in the cloud. Those interested in learning more should check out a great recent presentation from Adrian Cockcroft, Netflix’s Cloud Architect.
While Transformers is the rarest adoption path today, we do believe it will become far more frequent as the market matures, and as cloud changes the competitive dynamic in some industries.
Note that there are still a small (and shrinking) number of enterprises that are still purely in “Observer” mode, and not actively deploying SaaS, Paas, IaaS, or private clouds anywhere across their organizations. We haven’t reflected them in our framework, and struggle to see any enteprises where at minimum there isn’t at least an individual or department using a cloud-based collaboration or productivity app.
Stay tuned, as we’ll soon be posting more here about implications for both enterprises and the cloud service provider community.
Earlier this year, Everest Group conducted its annual study of high-value Infrastructure Outsourcing (IO) deals to gain insight into how a range of parameters correlate with deal activity in the IO market. The study, which is part of our Infrastructure Outsourcing Market Update 2012 report, analyzed 164 IO deals across a combination of 17 MNCs, Tier-1 offshore and Tier-2 offshore providers.
Infrastructure Outsourcing 2012 – Key Findings:
Buyers: Buyers across geographies found increased value in offshore providers’ remote infrastructure management outsourcing (RIMO) model due to its flexibility. Faced with the high costs associated with IO, buyers appeared very tactical in their approach. Analysis of the basket of IO spend showed clear signs of carefully planned allocation across traditional IO, RIMO and cloud-based services
Service providers: Though MNCs remain by far the leaders in the IO market, offshore providers appeared to be steadily gaining ground in sales strategy as well as deal wins. We also observed similarities between MNCs and offshore providers on a number of parameters such as buyer segments, deal size and geographies
Cloud-based services: As transformation of infrastructure is the major driver of cloud adoption across enterprises, we devoted an entire section in the study to cloud adoption in IO. Not surprisingly, cloud is helping buyers create a flexible and scalable infrastructure environment, with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions leading cloud adoption
Infrastructure outsourcing: On the cusp of transformation?
Overall, the IO market appears to be on the cusp of transformational change. IO seems to be showing the way not only in cloud adoption but also in how IT delivery and pricing models are transforming. The growth of IaaS says a lot about the IO’s impetus for buyers and providers alike.
Earlier this year, Everest Group conducted its annual study of high-value Application Outsourcing (AO) deals to gain insight into how a range of parameters correlate with deal activity in the AO market. The study, which is part of our Application Outsourcing Market Update 2012 report, analyzed 320 AO deals across a combination of 17 multinational corporations (MNCs), Tier-1 offshore and Tier-2 offshore providers.
Application outsourcing 2012: key findings
Buyers: Buyers across geographies appeared to be expanding their AO portfolios. Smaller buyers signed a larger number of new deals, and larger buyers leveraged their maturity of engagement with AO service providers to sign a greater number of renewals. While North America continued to hold sway in AO adoption with the largest number of deals, Europe appeared to be a strong engine of growth for service providers, on a year-to-year basis
Service providers: As the AO market grows in size, there appears to be growing similarity between the sales strategies of MNCs and offshore providers. The offshore providers, over the years, have gained strong traction in AO. MNCs appeared to be tweaking their strategies to expand in this market, which has been the mainstay for offshore providers
Cloud computing: Cloud computing continues to be increasingly adopted in AO deals. The major components of the cloud service engagements we analyzed were transformation and implementation of business application portfolios
The new drivers of AO
Overall, the AO market appears to grow from strength to strength. When analyzed on key parameters such as geography, type of buyers, and deal type, the study results deliver interesting insights. From adoption of next generation concepts of outsourcing like cloud computing to the increased flexibility that service providers are showing in designing deals, a number of new AO trends are clearly emerging.
As large IT services buyers increasingly embrace cloud-based delivery, offshore IT services providers are being forced to innovate beyond their traditional strengths of labor arbitrage, process excellence, and delivery maturity. Indeed, as these providers witness their application services reaching wallet share saturation in the large buyer market, there is growing perception in the industry that if they do not offer “next generation” services they risk losing even their traditional business.
Granted, these providers are not sitting idle. They have created “cloud advisory” teams and executed multiple application migration/porting engagements as part of their global services contracts. But the crux of cloud opportunity lies in the transformational nature of these engagements, which invariably involves owning IT infrastructure.
Our discussions with enterprise IT services buyers point to three types of roles for offshore providers, which extend beyond typical SaaS implementation and integration. These roles will also require services related to consulting, architecture, application migration, etc.
Offshore providers possess varying degrees of competence for these roles, but to remain relevant, they must continue to invest in newer capabilities. Today, a select few are investing in areas such as cloud management platforms, consulting services, readiness assessments, and migration services to move beyond simplistic cloud engagements. However, most lack a comprehensive datacenter-driven cloud infrastructure service, which is needed to drive transformational engagements.
One of the key findings in Everest Group’s recently released Cloud Vista research study was that more than 50 percent of large cloud-related engagements – and even most application transformation deals – contain a significant amount of infrastructure transformation, but offshore providers have scant presence in these engagements.
It is becoming abundantly clear that offshore providers need to swiftly tackle the area of cloud infrastructure services. One of the biggest challenges they must overcome is their lack of willingness to invest in owning datacenters, instead opting to relegate core datacenter operations to the partners. Many buyers convey their disappointment with this type of partnership model, believing it can at best support running IT operations, but that it is not appropriate for enterprise class cloud infrastructure services that can assist them to variabilize their costs and access self-service, consumption-linked infrastructure.
Given their general reluctance to own large scale datacenters, offshore providers may at least evaluate “white labeling” hosting providers’ datacenters so that they can offer cloud infrastructure services which will allow them to calibrate their investments while simultaneously serving their buyers. Given that white labeling of datacenters is an accepted practice and even large scale datacenter service providers white label datacenters from other core datacenter operators (e.g., Equinix), this model will find acceptance with the buyers.
Offshore providers need to understand that for a game changing paradigm such as cloud, there always will be a risk associated with investments. The days of cherry picking attractive contracts are over, and they can no longer walk away from complex deals that do not meet their sweet spot. Therefore, they must inculcate a culture of risk taking, and invest in areas outside their comfort zone, especially in cloud infrastructure services. The cloud is changing buyers’ sourcing strategies, and offshore providers that fail to change accordingly risk losing their relevance and even their traditional business.
The market conversation around enterprise adoption of private, public and hybrid cloud models has been surprisingly light on facts. Data, surveys and analysis tend to focus either on predicting overall market sizes for cloud services (which often strain credulity of even the most ardent cloud supporter), or on high level surveys around planned cloud adoption and perceived issues. While interesting from a broad market perspective, they provide little insight for IT executives facing hard choices around cloud migration. Decision makers are faced with little hard data on the use cases that are actually being implemented in the enterprises and the value that they’re generating. This gap creates challenges not just for enterprise CIOs but also for cloud service providers and consultants.
In conjunction with Cloud Connect and UBM TechWeb, Everest Group is excited to announce a new tracking survey focused on better understanding where the “rubber is hitting the road” with enterprise cloud adoption. Targeted at enterprises and vendors alike, our Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey will focus on identifying global enterprise cloud adoption trends and patterns and where enterprises are seeing value today from the cloud. Our survey will help readers gain visibility and insight into questions such as:
What are the use cases that are driving adoption of SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and private cloud?
How are cloud adoption patterns and uses cases are differing by vertical? By geography?
What cloud infrastructure models are most frequently being deployed (private, public, hybrid)?
What cloud management platforms are gaining traction in the enterprise? Where are open source options (OpenStack, CloudStack) being adopted?
How does the value being delivered by cloud deployments compare to expectations?
We think some of the more interesting insights will come from seeing how these responses change and trend over time. Our goal is not to provide just a one-time shapshot of adoption, but to conduct an ongoing survey several times a year to surface key trends and patterns. The results from our first joint survey will be announced in conjunction with Cloud Connect Chicago, to be held September 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
Given how much of the typical large enterprise IT budget is consumed by ERP, we’re not surprised to find a growing curiosity among many CIOs to understand how cloud delivery models could reduce costs. On the surface, you wouldn’t think that production ERP applications would be at the top of the list for cloud migration. ERP apps are mission critical, complex and highly customized, often with significant data security and compliance requirements.
That’s why we think one of the more interesting, underreported stories in cloud are the examples of large enterprises that have migrated existing ERP environments to private, hybrid and community cloud models. We’re actually finding quite a number of quite interesting, global scale ERP cloud deployments particularly among SAP customers. Why SAP? While Oracle is obviously the other large enterprise ERP heavyweight, as we’ve discussed here before, Oracle’s licensing policies are creating roadblocks for customers to migrate to even virtualized models, let alone private or public clouds.
The market for SAP cloud services is surprisingly robust with at least 10 major service providers that deliver SAP ERP capabilities via managed or host private or hybrid cloud models, including IBM, T-Systems, Fujitsu, Accenture CSC, CapGemini and others. T-Systems alone already supports 500 customers and 1.9 million SAP users via cloud-based models. Not surprisingly, most of these service providers started by originally providing SAP hosting services and have since extended their offerings. What’s the customer value proposition for SAP in the cloud?
Cost variablization – given the significant capex investments associated with SAP deployments and upgrades, cost variability is central to cloud-based SAP offerings. Nearly all providers offer consumption-based pricing models for SAP cloud services.
TCO reduction – many service providers are claiming the ability the reduce TCO for customer SAP environments by 30+% through the typical cloud levers. Several providers have customer references that have achieved these efficiencies and more in live production.
Flexibility – service providers are touting the ability of cloud-enabled deployments to more rapidly and easily provide new capabilities to users.
Standardization – in conjunction with cloud migration, many enterprises desire to consolidate data centers, rationalize SAP instances and standardize global processes to drive efficiency and flexibility.
Unlike other enterprise cloud use cases focused more on business agility and flexibility, in most cases cost appears to be the major driver of SAP cloud migration. Some of the more interesting examples include:
British American Tobacco (BAT) – just last month BAT announced a seven-year, US$160 million deal with T-Systems to consolidate its current SAP deployments into a single, cloud-based instance by 2016. The deal will enable BAT to variabilize its SAP costs through a usage-based pricing model.
Domino Sugar – leveraging Virtustream’s virtual private cloud platforms, Domino Sugar has been able to reduce SAP costs by over 30%, while actually improving availability and performance for several thousand users. As with BAT, SAP costs are variabilized and based on actual resource consumption.
Shell – to drive standardization, increase flexibility and shift to consumption-based pricing, Shell migrated its SAP environment to private cloud models (delivered by T-Systems) in support of 102,000 global employees across 100 countries.
Other notable enterprise examples include Audi, Freeport McMoran, Siemens, and Suntory.
Why haven’t we heard more about these and other examples? With the exception of IBM, most leading SAP cloud service providers and many of the early enterprise adopters of SAP in the cloud aren’t U.S.-based and are outside of the cloud hype and “echo chamber.” Also, details on many of these deployments tend to be tightly held both by both service providers and customers.
While many segments of enterprise cloud appear to be stuck in pilots and proofs of concept, ERP is surprisingly providing some early examples of large scale enterprise cloud migration.
Less than three years back, there was widespread excitement (and alarm and despondency) in many quarters about the impact of cloud computing on traditional IT outsourcing providers.
Cloud computing was predicted, though not by us, to greatly disadvantage the incumbent players, but as of today, such a prediction is difficult to stand by (just take a look at TCS’s and Accenture’s results since then). Sure, public cloud providers continue to grow rapidly, and the traditional license model is increasingly giving way to the pay-as-you-go paradigm. Yet most leading providers of outsourced IT services seem to be adapting well through a combined strategy of alliances, acquisitions, and in-house cloud solutions. Cloud computing appears to be increasingly well integrated as part of the delivery model for most traditional ITO providers. Consider the following statistics from our recently released report, Enterprise Cloud Adoption: Role of Cloud in Global Services:
In the second half of 2011, approximately eight percent of all ITO/BPO deals serviced by traditional outsourcers (excluding SaaS product companies, and public cloud and hosting providers) included cloud delivery models or platforms within their scope. This is up from four percent in the first half of 2011.
The average total contract value (TCV) of 2011 global services deals with cloud delivery in scope was US$168 million, compared to US$95 million for deals without cloud in scope.
Cloud deals seem to be more transformational in nature, almost at the cutting edge of ITO capabilities if you will. 53 percent of all ITO deals with cloud delivery in scope involved significant infrastructure transformation of test, development, and production environments. Clearly, traditional ITO providers view cloud computing as an important solution component for large, transformational deals.
Cloud computing seems to be helping service providers get access to markets that were previously unprofitable or too complicated to serve. Approximately 38 percent of all global services contracts with cloud in scope were awarded by enterprises with less than US$500 million in revenues. And government and non-profit sectors together account for 20 percent of all global services deals with cloud delivery in scope.
Clearly, there’s a big pot of gold somewhere amidst all these clouds, but what’s interesting to note is that few service providers have all of what it’s going to take to win all of it:
Design and Consulting – Service providers, such as Accenture, with a consulting legacy and orientation are going to have an advantage when it comes to advising clients on how to build their cloud solution from scratch.
Host and Implement – Players like IBM and HP with a deep legacy of asset-based infrastructure transformation will have an advantage in providing these services
Management and Professional Services – Offshore players such as TCS, with their global delivery models, have an advantage in offering the “cloud management” role
The problem is that these activities are seldom commissioned in isolation. This is not something where a best-of-breed approach always works, despite buyers being wary of lock-in risks. The opportunities are tightly coupled, and service providers need intelligence on the characteristics of relevant opportunities as they are torn between focusing on what they have, and plugging the gaps through alliances and acquisitions.
The fact of the matter is that there will be winners and losers, and the market today is too dynamic to predict who will play which part. It will be interesting to see if there are ground-breaking disruptions (e.g., a major public cloud provider making a headline acquisition of a giant system integrator, thereby making its move in the private cloud market, potentially disintermediating a lot of other system integrators, and at one stroke making a deep thrust in the enterprise market) as the stakes get higher. Or an asset-light provider marking a strategic u-turn by investing in physical infrastructure to build its own cloud solution, complete with consulting, system integration, and management services delivered through a global platform?
As discussed here before, a number of different enterprise cloud adoption paths are emerging. These patterns range from “Observers,” who are taking a reactive, wait and see approach to migration to “Transformers,” who are using private and public clouds to drive wide scale IT transformation and modernization programs. Not surprisingly these transformers are the Holy Grail being pursued by many cloud service providers and enterprise IT vendors. The opportunity to drive significant pieces of an enterprise IT environment to cloud environments (private and public) in multi-year transformation efforts creates visions of big services, hardware, and in some cases software dollars.
While many service providers are crafting go-to market strategies around these types of client opportunities, they’re running into an interesting challenge. They’re not finding a lot of Transformers out there yet. Enterprise cloud adoption, particularly for IaaS, is still largely focused on specific use cases or initial pilots. While many CIOs have long-term visions for cloud-centric future state environments, few CIOs are actually doing it today.
So why aren’t we seeing more Transformers in the market? Our experience suggests that in many cases there are a set of tactical (and often mundane) issues preventing CIOs from getting to the cloud more aggressively. While by no means comprehensive, several of the issues we frequently see are:
Licensing handcuffs – legacy enterprise software vendors clearly understand the business model disruption that cloud represents. Not surprisingly, most enterprise software houses are in no hurry to get their customers to the new world. For example, nearly all of Oracle database licensing policies are still based on physical server CPUs. One notable exception is with Amazon AWS, for which Oracle does support a “BYOL” (bring-your-own license) model based on virtual cores; at this time, Amazon is the only cloud service provider certified by Oracle. In addition Oracle software licensing also provides no or limited technical support for major non-Oracle virtualization platforms such as VMware, KVM, Xen and Hyper-V. Needless to say, if you’re a CIO running an Oracle shop (as many Fortune 500 companies are), there are significant constraints to migrating to even private cloud environments. While not every legacy enterprise software vendor has staked out a position as extreme as Oracle, many are still using licensing as leverage to drive clients to preferred models (or keep them there).
Shortage of skills – cloud expertise and experience is hard to find. Without cloud architecture and solution skills, enterprises are finding it difficult to drive wide-scale transformation efforts. While retraining would seem to be the obvious answer, CIOs that have tried going down that path are finding it to be a dead end. As discussed at our Organizational Readiness track at Cloud Connect Santa Clara last February, IT leaders are finding that the cloud paradigm shift is a bridge too far, and that most of their current employees are unable to make the shift. The lack of internal talent, combined with the wariness to trust vendors and service providers, is leading to a real constraint to further adoption, particularly in IaaS and private cloud models.
Analysis paralysis – private cloud provides an interesting example of the proliferation of options facing enterprise IT. Private clouds can be provided in a variety of flavors, with important choices to be made around delivery model (VPC vs dedicated), location (on-premise or hosted), asset ownership (customer or service provider), platform (proprietary vs open source) and, of course, vendor. Given the skills shortage mentioned above, even sophisticated enterprise IT shops are challenged with the variety of vendor and service options in the market, particularly given the pace of change. Of course the recent flare-up of IaaS platform wars doesn’t help make these choices clearer for risk-averse CIOs. The result of too many choices? It’s not uncommon for us to see clients experiencing “vapor lock,” not really knowing what to analyze, let along what methodology to use. Clients are finding the frameworks, methodologies and tools they’ve historically used to make similar decisions in the past aren’t applicable or relevant in the cloud paradigm. As simple as it seems, many of our clients simply don’t know where to get started.
Why isn’t security and compliance on the list? Because in many cases, we’re finding that security and compliance is a red herring that IT is hiding behind. This is not to say that there are not workloads and use cases where security and compliance issues prevent certain public cloud models; however, these situations in reality are the minority. A variety of examples exist of enterprises leveraging the cloud today while still maintaining compliance with PCI, HIPAA and other mandates (most of which are open to auditor interpretation anyway). Best practices, tools and architectures for addressing common security issues are also becoming more prevalent, as are more mature CSP offerings and security practices for common use cases. Net, net: where there’s a will there’s a way, and in most cases if CIOs are truly interested in getting to the cloud, there are secure, compliant ways of getting there.
Overall, we believe that the wave of transformation is coming in the enterprise. Early movers exist and are achieving the promised payoff. Unfortunately the timing and shape of the wave for the mainstream organization is not as clear as those in the enterprise IT world would like, and the pace is being shaped primarily by a set of factors that are largely non-technical and beyond the IT leader’s control.