More organizations are shifting critical functions to the cloud, yet the art and science of cloud computing is complex.
Only a few years ago, CIOs and other business and IT leaders openly questioned the viability of clouds. There's been a remarkable shift in attitude. Industry studies indicate that enterprise cloud adoption now hovers above the 90 percent range, and clouds are filtering into a broader array of functions and tasks.
Yet, the art and science of cloud computing is complex, particularly when it comes to data migration, workflows and security issues. The just released Cloud 401: Navigating Advanced Topics in Cloud Computing, has identified a number of key issues covering everything from adoption to enterprise integration.
A few key points:
*Organizations are gravitating to cloud services that represent an easier transition. This includes: storage, email and Web hosting. Fewer organizations are deploying more complex cloud solutions in areas such as ERP and SCM.
*IT executives rate reliability the most important attribute for a cloud vendor, but 76 percent of organizations said at least one cloud vendor has failed to meet their SLAs.
*Organizations report mixed reactions to vendor hype vs. reality. Flexibility, ease of use and ease of administration were rated vendor truths, while security was viewed as hype. Cost savings landed in the middle.
*Cloud implementations are becoming more streamlined. Respondents said that on average, initial cloud implementations require about 14 weeks, whereas subsequent implementations take only 10 weeks on average.
The report also found that operations, human resources, finance, research and development, and marketing and sales were the leading buyers of cloud services within the enterprise. Corporate and legal uses lagged behind.
Finally, the study uncovered some interesting trends related to calculating costs and understanding the accuracy of financial models. Overall, 53 percent of forecasts are off by 10 percent or more. Vendor-provided information was deemed the most accurate, with 55 percent of respondents saying the forecasts landed within 10 percent accuracy. Third-party consultants delivered forecasts at a 40 percent accuracy rate, while internal finance departments also landed at 40 percent.
The most successful cloud implementations focused on a few key issues, CDW notes. These include: spending adequate time preparing for a migration and subsequent integration issues; putting systems diagnostics in place, along with properties and processes that streamline performance; and adopting a managed services approach revolving around continuous monitoring, metered billing, management reporting and progressively tiered services.
Samuel Greengard, a contributor to CIO Insight, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.
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