Cloud is one of the most written about, discussed and debated topics in technology today, and inevitably there is a level of uncertainty and confusion around it.
So what are the truths, myths and opportunities surrounding cloud? Research carried out by analyst house Freeform Dynamics certainly helps provide some clarity for organisations on their cloud journey.
1. It’s not about cutting costs or jobs
If you asked a group of IT professionals for a list of motives for cloud adoption, it would not be surprising if cost savings were near the top.
However, only 15% of businesses actually consider cost as a primary factor for implementing cloud technology.
Cloud adoption can be seen as an opportunity to reduce the size of IT teams, and therefore IT spend, because of its automation and the shorter development cycles it enables.
However, as cloud usage has started to mature, 72% of businesses have in fact reported a growth in IT teams. Rather than losing people, the skill-base is shifting to more specialist areas within businesses so that they can continue to innovate and keep a competitive advantage.
2. IT teams need a business focus
With the evolution of cloud technology, the profile of IT teams is changing from a generalist role to a more specialist one, with a focus on delivering business value rather than keeping the IT “lights on”.
The research shows organisations making extensive use of cloud services have IT teams that are made up of specialists (69%) rather than generalists.
On the other hand, businesses that are making modest or no use of cloud reported that their teams are made up of very few specialists (11%), therefore demonstrating that with higher levels of cloud adoption comes more focused staff.
IT teams using cloud are able to focus on developing specialist skills such as architecture, design, security, information management, digital and line-of-business applications. This means they are able to deliver more innovative, interesting and new solutions for their companies.
3. Converged services have a key role to play
As IT teams move to a more specialist approach and their priorities shift to a business focus, converged services will play an increasingly important role in the management of IT estates.
Indeed, the research shows that the most successful IT teams (those that are delivering most business value) are much more likely to be making significant use of converged services.
Instead of focusing purely on cost savings, IT leaders are now aiming to minimise cloud complexity and fragmentation of IT systems to deliver greater business value. Converged service providers are therefore expected to step up, deliver and support businesses as if they are part of their internal IT team.
4. Service providers need to do more
As the number of cloud suppliers increases and the technology landscape becomes increasingly complex, it can be a daunting task for companies to identify a single cloud provider that is able to meet all their cloud related needs.
However, businesses can minimise the number of suppliers they work with to reduce the level of burden and risk. Providers that aggregate multiple services into a single integrated solution have a key role to play in the cloud landscape of 2017.
5. Prepare for change
Using the cloud will not dissolve a company’s technology issues and requirements, so in-house IT teams will continue to have a key role in years to come.
IT departments would be well advised to have a strategy to evolve their skill mix, and engage with the business and its suppliers.
>See also: What’s in store for cloud in 2017?
Cloud technology should not be seen as an end to spending on IT or to internal IT teams, but instead as a means to an end. The real mission of cloud is to enable businesses to be as effective, efficient and responsive as possible.
As the world is becoming even more connected, so is the work place, and making the most of cloud technology requires communication across businesses and suppliers alike.
Sourced by Campbell Williams, group strategy and marketing director, Six Degrees Group