IT being pushed out of cloud buying decisions
Fri 4 Apr 2014
Non-IT staff are increasingly making the cloud technology purchasing decisions according to a recent survey.
Carried out by cloud storage specialist, Databarracks, the survey found nearly half of the respondents said the CEO, FD, CFO and other department heads are exerting an increasing amount of an influence in the procurement of cloud technology.
Commenting on what effect this has on a business, Oscar Arean, technical operations manager at Databarracks, said: “Traditionally, there has always been a battle of wills between the IT department and the rest of the business. By involving departmental managers, it should help to dissolve the adversarial nature of those relationships.
“Problems may arise, however, when department heads go out and buy cloud services themselves because it’s faster than if they went to the IT team. IT departments support the business and need to be involved if they are to continue supporting it.
“Non-IT staff making technical decisions, or outsourcing to third parties, need to understand exactly what they are doing as there are many factors to consider. If in doubt, they should seek advice and preferably recommendations from other companies that have already gone through the hurdles of adopting cloud services.”
The results – published as part of Databarracks’ Data Health Check 2013 report – also highlighted a significant lack of cloud training among respondents, with 54 per cent saying they’d received no training in the last 12 months and 53 per cent admitting no training was planned for 2014. Training budgets are always hit when economic times are tough but given the meteoric rise in cloud products and services, a lack of investment in cloud training may mean businesses miss out on leveraging all that the cloud has to offer.
Arean gives his thoughts on what the key factors are limiting professional development in this area. He says: “The IT skills gap isn’t necessarily a problem in every instance. Some organisations choose to work with third-party cloud service providers (CSPs) to bring in their expertise and take that onus from the in-house team.
“The lack of training is surprising though when you consider that most businesses are operating hybrid clouds at the moment. There is a distinction to be made between the private clouds that businesses might operate themselves and the multi-tenant public clouds that service providers manage. There is a big difference in terms of complexity and security between the two – and some of those skills just aren’t required for the average business.
“Companies need the right skills to confidently run their onsite infrastructure and private cloud environments, while still managing relationships with their public cloud providers, to really make the most out of what cloud services have to offer.”
Five top tips for maximising cloud investment
Cloud adoption presents a host of challenges for businesses of all sizes. Here Arean offers his top five tips for implementing a robust IT strategy in order to maximise cloud investment.
1. Involve stakeholders at all levels. Communication is key to an efficient cloud migration in order to try and capture all possible problems that may arise from such a move.
2. Establish a clear road map. It should contain achievable objectives and tangible deliverables. It’s important to identify the areas of impact cloud services can have on each area of your business, to be able to adapt accordingly.
3. Don’t move too much too fast. Start your move with a self-contained pilot project. With disaster recovery, for example, it’s easy to set up, test and monitor different elements of the service, without a huge financial investment. UAT (user acceptance testing) is vital in establishing whether the performance meets the requirements outlined by the business.
4. Know where to draw the line. Some systems are simply better kept on-premise. Tasks that require high-performance processing, for example, wouldn’t benefit from a migration to cloud computing. Only 34 per cent of our respondents seem to agree, saying they would never consider moving their entire infrastructure to the cloud.
5. Extract value. In order to really get the most out of your cloud services concentrate on extracting value from them, rather than solely looking for cost-savings. Short term savings can sometimes lead to long term problems if not carefully thought out.
Download the full Data Health Check 2013 report.