What is the state of cloud adoption in the UK?

Cloud computing continues to revolutionise the way organisations around the world do business, as analysts predict another year of major investment in the cloud.

In this interview, Krieger discusses cloud computing technology, the risks associated with putting data eggs in one cloud platform basket, and the main drivers towards cloud adoption in the UK, as well as what is holding some businesses back

How has awareness of the cloud and the technology itself evolved over the past five years?

Cloud computing has evolved from something that was only understood by technology teams within an organisation into a well understood concept at the executive level. Five years ago, knowledge of “cloud” was often murky at the top levels of organisations due to the ambiguous nature of the term.

>See also: UK cloud adoption rate reaches 88% – Cloud Industry Forum

However, through better marketing and communication from the IT functions, organisations have begun to see the intrinsic value. There has also been an increase in familiarity at consumer level, too, which all helps to make the concept more easily understood when applied to business.

Can we now say that cloud computing is a mature technology? Where are organisations in their adoption cycle?

Cloud computing is nearly mature. There are some aspects that preclude full maturity within this space, chiefly that some portions under the control of the cloud service provider are still very “black box” in nature.

This obscurity should, however, reduce dramatically and quickly in coming months, in part due to the EU GDPR coming into enforcement, which requires that processor and sub-processor roles be fully disclosed.

In terms of the adoption cycle – this varies depending on the company. While some organisations are going full steam ahead with a comprehensive cloud strategy, we also see quite a lot of companies testing the water with aspects of their operations where they can see an immediate advantage in efficiency or cost-savings.

>See also: Barriers to public cloud adoption are fading, but server peril remains

This is particularly true of disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). Companies can see the advantage of backup and recovery in the cloud and are keen to try it out. Once they see how straightforward it is this often leads to further projects in other areas of the business.

What are the main reasons driving businesses to adopt cloud services and applications today?

The two main drivers work in harmony – cost and simplicity. Cloud deployments are generally much less expensive in terms of the capital outlay needed for deployment compared with on-premise systems.

This also means that it’s easier to get budgetary sign-off, adding time saving to the equation as well. Complexity is also reduced organisationally since there is reduced need to have dedicated teams associated with managing systems. This tends to streamline decision-making and technology operations, making for efficiency and cost savings.

What’s the view of cloud from the boardroom now?

It’s high on the agenda. There’s no such thing as an executive team that doesn’t want to leverage cost savings, time savings and create simplicity in their operations. The “C” level may not understand the nuances of the cloud but they do understand the concepts and ideas, and they really buy into the benefits.

What, if anything, is holding companies back from cloud adoption?

Trust, verification and legacy staff and applications. First, as noted previously, there are some aspects that are not visible to the end customers, so there is an element of trust required between customer and provider.

>See also: Hybrid cloud adoption dominates

This can be overcome by ensuring transparency at the cloud provider level to some extent, but there is still a gap to close. The second major challenge is around staffing and applications.

Some applications are not yet cloud ready. These are becoming fewer and fewer but they still are affecting a lot of organisations that would like to move to the cloud. Coupled with that is legacy staff who are not versed in cloud usage and who tend to distrust what they cannot directly control.

Is there a risk for businesses in having all their data eggs in one cloud platform basket, such as AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure?

Always. Consolidation of the market is both good and bad. Good in the sense that a unified platform and delivery model becomes standardised but bad in the sense that smaller players in the field, that tend to be the aggressive drivers of change, are viewed as outliers rather than the innovators they actually are. Additionally, companies can be faced with the challenge of being ‘locked in’ with a cloud provider making it difficult to leverage new cloud use cases.

>See also: The demand for cloud skills in the UK continues to rise

Where are we on the adoption cycle for cloud in the UK – at saturation point or still a long way to go?

There is so much more to go. What is being seen today is not even half of what it could be in the next year or even less. 2018 will see a major shift by not just the enterprise level organisations but the next levels down among the mid to small sized players. Barriers to entry, such as complexity and trust, continue to be removed and costs continue to fall, making the cloud viable for every business.

Looking to the future, where will cloud computing fit into business?

It will develop into a deeper and growing part of each company, regardless of size. With the continued growth of the “..as a service” sector more and more organisations will embrace the cloud and start to reap the benefits around time, cost and complexity reductions. We still have a great deal to do and we’re looking forward to exciting months and years ahead.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...