JOURNEY TO THE
MOST JOURNEYS TO THE CLOUD
HAVE ONLY JUST BEGUN...
UK plc is at a crossroads on its journey to the Cloud. While most UK CIOs have
realised the potential of the Cloud’s transformative capabilities and many have
begun the journey, numerous paths lie ahead based on different approaches and
motivations and much of the journey is still to be completed. The question now
for most is “what is the right way forward?”
Through its research of 200 senior UK IT executives, drawn from the finance, industry, retail and
Government sectors, Redcentric aimed to better understand the UK Cloud ‘state of play’ and the
directions that different organisations are taking to deliver it. It seeks to understand and help you
define your journey, future aims and challenges along the way, including:
• How UK organisations plan to streamline IT or transform operations
• Organisations’ different Cloud strategies: will CIOs use pure play or hybrid resources to deliver them
• Current progress and how long, challenging and rewarding the Cloud journey might prove
• What sort of help organisations might need to execute their plans
For all its prominence in technology-led debates, there appears to be some way to go in understanding and realising Cloud’s transformative potential. Nearly half of research respondents believe their sector is still neutral regarding Cloud models, outweighing just over one third who say it is supportive to some extent.
But senior IT executives themselves foresee all sorts of possibilities. Most of the private sector and Government want above all to cut costs, improve service availability and boost productivity. Businesses also want greater productivity while Government wants more flexible working and team collaborations.
Looking at technology objectives alone, over half of interviewees want to cut their running costs with Cloud, while four out of ten want to speed up IT delivery. More than a third hopes for more responsive storage and data recovery, or better in-house IT development by replacing inflexible legacy systems.
Most interviewees describe their Cloud journey so far as a ‘middle distance’ implementation, mixing Cloud and on-premise resources pragmatically to reach their business goals, while much smaller proportions seek tactical short term change, or to deploy Cloud wholly strategically over the longer haul. Nearly two-thirds aim to draw on public and private Cloud assets to hit objectives.
IT executives are bringing wide-ranging essential applications into on-demand environments, belying perceptions that Cloud technologies are risky. Email topped the list of applications migrated to the Cloud followed by storage, CRM, disaster recovery and then collaboration software. The wide range of other applications – from payroll to security – being migrated (albeit at much lower levels), suggests that management teams aware of Cloud’s true potential are now starting to realise its capabilities.
But organisations are clear they don’t want existing operations disrupted. A majority want assurances of no downtime and almost as many want service levels agreed with partners and suppliers. However, the more heavily-regulated public bodies’ biggest concern is where their data is actually held.
There are challenges ahead. The vast majority of respondents are concerned in some way about the prospect of integrating on-premise and Cloud environments, with these worries repeated across all survey categories. The research reveals the different strategies that senior IT executives are using to deliver Cloud environments. First, analysing organisations’ progress to date, we find that respondents
typically take one of three routes: a tactical ‘short distance’ approach, a ‘middle distance’ or ‘long distance’ highly-planned approach, with most interviewees taking the ‘middle-distance’ route, based on a hybrid of on-premise and Cloud assets. Second, weighing up interviewees’ tolerance of risk when seeking change highlights five distinct Cloud adoption ‘personas’: the biggest group is ‘evolutionaries’, blending on-premise and Cloud resources while ‘cautious adopters’ want strategy kept in-house. ‘Accelerators’ favouring speedy deployment make the greatest use of public and private Cloud while ‘progressives’ seeking fundamental change are most likely to try out ready-made Cloud offerings. The radical minority of ‘experimenters’ is likely to pursue hybrid provisioning of services. Both government and private sector respondents say cost-cutting is their biggest driver and public bodies are prepared to blend private, managed and public Cloud services to deliver improvements. Private firms are more focused on innovation and faster IT deployment than Government where on-premise technology is still more popular than Cloud.
There is clearly massive potential for Cloud in UK plc, because many organisations are still to embark on much of their journey. Four out of ten respondents are only on their first steps, while under one third believes they’ve reached the halfway point. Only one in ten reckons the end is in sight. UK organisations have to accept delays and diversions on their Cloud journey too, but many of these stem from internal factors, rather than Cloud technologies per se. Eight out of ten
interviewees have experienced delays of some sort, but only a small proportion said they were significant. Cloud plans are knocked off course by internal factors – budget cuts, shifting business priorities, changes of management thinking and lack of planning.
Four in ten interviewees have noticed impacts on their business from changing tack on Cloud, but say these were not significant. These modest effects were reported across the survey, including risk-averse participants who are fast-tracking change.
While the vast majority of
interviewees, whatever their market sector or deployment philosophy, want a competent in-house team on hand, most interviewees also regard external partners’ input as very valuable or crucial, particularly specialist vendors, system integrators and Cloud service providers.
While Cloud still has vast untapped potential in UK organisations, it is already achieving exciting results with many taking an evolutionary, hybrid approach to Cloud to drive efficiencies, optimise services and boosting productivity. Britain has yet to fully grasp Cloud to the full, but the time is upon it to do so.
WHAT’S SHAPING YOUR
JOURNEY TO THE CLOUD?
UK organisations have vital business and IT challenges that require a rethink using Cloud computing.
This section takes a closer look at:
• Their different motivating factors
• How quickly they think it will take to deliver these changes by taking systems and data into the Cloud
• How well-placed their organisation is to deliver Cloud and what sort of outside input they need
Cloud drivers – innovation and change
or cost-cutting and renewal?
Most businesses want to cut costs and improve business continuity & service availability, while another four out of ten wants to drive up productivity and innovation. Two-thirds of Government respondents want to cut costs, while over one third wants to improve business continuity and service availability, productivity and flexible working/collaboration respectively. Looking at solely IT priorities, most interviewees (56%) want to cut IT management costs and four out of ten (41%) want to speed up overall IT delivery. More than a third want to upgrade their storage and data recovery (37%), drive development by replacing inflexible legacy systems (36%) and retiring end of life systems (34%).
How long will the journey to the
There is considerable scope for UK organisations to further adopt Cloud models as many have yet to put their plans into action. Around two fifths (41%) of respondents say they are only taking the first steps on their journey and less than one third (32%) believes that they’ve reached the halfway point. Only around one in ten (11%) sees the end in sight.
Irrespective of organisations’ approach to Cloud adoption, the most common IT objective is the need to reduce IT management and maintenance costs. Most organisations are pragmatic in how they meet these objectives, with 64% saying their objective is to draw on different Cloud services to support specific business applications.
56% OF BUSINESSES
WANT TO CUT COSTS.
50% WANT TO
ANOTHER FOUR OUT OF
TEN WANTS TO DRIVE
In-house control or outside help?
Respondents across the board regard in-house know-how as the crucial factor in making the deployment a success. Almost half of interviewees want IT colleagues to drive the approach, and this preference was repeated whatever the industry sector, implementation strategy and appetite for risk during business change. However, majorities see input from external partners as very valuable or crucial, particularly specialist vendors (58%), system integrators (55%) and Cloud service providers (51%). UK businesses and Government are thus taking a sound, if far-from-visionary view of what Cloud can achieve. They are taking pragmatic approaches to Cloud adoption, with most seeing it as a mid-term task, while some may be seeking faster deployment with a strong emphasis on tactical fixes. IT users that are prepared to accept more risk are more innovative and less structured in how they go about it.
Senior IT executives have clear, if varying, reasons for embarking on a journey into the Cloud, but how are they going about their journey?
Differing approaches to Cloud
The research assessed organisations’ thinking on Cloud strategy by analysing the progress they have made so far, leading to three main categorisations. Two-thirds of interviewees are running a ‘middle distance’ approach, based on hybrids of on-premise and Cloud. Around one in five (22%) is taking a ‘short distance’ route with more tactical goals. Only one in six (17%) has a more strategic, ‘long distance’ approach.
Each of these groups nevertheless have a long way to go on their Cloud journey with four in ten saying they are only on their first steps, of which over two thirds (70%) are ‘short distance’ adopters. Although almost one third of approach-led interviewees say they now are half-way, this falls to 21% among ‘short distancers’ and only 18% for ‘long distancers’. Only a tiny minority say they have reached their destination.
AROUND ONE IN
FIVE (22%) IS
ONLY ONE IN
SIX (17%) HAS A
‘Short-distance’ focused Cloud adopters’ most common objective is business continuity as they force the pace of Cloud progress. These respondents said they wanted a quick fix and they strongly prefer off-the-shelf Cloud options over tailor-made approaches. Despite the focus on quick, tactical implementations, most ‘short distancers’ admit they are only taking their first steps towards Cloud.
Just under half of ‘short distance’ respondents also see systems integrators as very valuable or crucial to their Cloud strategy, slightly ahead of specialist vendors or service providers and Cloud service providers.
‘Middle distance’ focused Cloud adopters’ key objective is likely to be cost-cutting and they are far more likely to take a bespoke Cloud approach over ready-made products or self-managed strategies. This group tends to choose careful hybrid strategies and of the three ‘approach’ categories, are the most likely to have reached the half-way mark and the least likely to be just embarking on their Cloud journey. While ‘middle distancers’ place the greatest value on keeping know-how in-house as they move into the Cloud, support from external partners during Cloud implementation is highly rated. A majority of this group sees specialist vendors or service providers as very valuable or crucial, closely followed by Cloud service providers.
‘Long distance’ focused Cloud adopters’ key objective is likely to be driving business innovation. They favour a self-directed strategy and tailor-made Cloud deployments over off-the-shelf options. However, ‘long distancers’’ progress on Cloud is mixed: nearly four out of ten say they’re taking first steps – more than twice those claiming to be half-way there or nearing the end.
Most ‘short’, ‘mid’ and ‘long distance’ respondents agree that in-house IT resource is crucial, alongside external help, to their Cloud ambitions. Encouragingly only a small minority feel that external partners haven’t added any value to their Cloud plans, with 7% saying this about business and IT consultants, 5% of systems integrators and 4% of their Cloud service providers.
Whatever approach you’ve taken to Cloud to date it’s likely that, like most interviewees, you value specialist external input highly. Majorities of ‘middle distancers’ rate specialist vendors (61%), Cloud providers (57%) and systems integrators (55%) as essential partners. More than two thirds of ‘long distance’ respondents (68%) value Cloud providers and specialist vendors most highly, part of a group that perhaps views Cloud as being central to business strategy, rather than the likely subject of tactical approaches or try-it-and-see options.
MORE THAN TWO THIRDS
OF ‘LONG DISTANCE’
VALUE CLOUD PROVIDERS
AND SPECIALIST VENDORS
MOST HIGHLY, PART OF
A GROUP THAT PERHAPS
VIEWS CLOUD AS BEING
CENTRAL TO BUSINESS
STRATEGY, RATHER THAN
THE LIKELY SUBJECT OF
TACTICAL APPROACHES OR
Our research identified five Cloud implementation ‘personas’ based on their motivations and risk profile:
Willing to take risks to get the reward
Looking for a faster track to Cloud
Looking to make big business changes
Making a steady and logical journey
Risk averse with feet firmly on the ground
On the whole these five risk-defined groups show
considerable differences in their progression to the Cloud. Most ‘cautious adopters’ (73%) are only now taking the first steps, even well behind other groups such as ‘progressives’ and ‘evolutionaries’ – a large number of whom are also just setting out on their journey (both at 42%).
At least half of the risk-embracing ‘experimenters’ and ‘accelerators’ groups claim to have reached the halfway point of their implementation compared to fewer than one third of the other three groups being this far advanced.
A quarter of ‘accelerator adopters’ see the end in sight, well ahead of the ‘evolutionary’ majority (8%), ‘progressives’ seeking root-and-branch change (10%) and ‘cautionary adopters’ (7%). ‘Experimenters’ show the highest confidence with 29% already extending their Cloud journey to deliver next stage rewards.
The five personas also exhibit very different progress on their move to scalable, on-demand IT. The minority of
‘experimenters’ view Cloud as a series of iterations or projects, while the more risk-averse ‘evolutionaries’ and ‘cautionary’ groups take a more detailed and risk-managed approach and so appear to be less advanced in their deployments.
After the ‘experimenters’, the ‘accelerators’ are most likely to have reached their destination – but have they too reaped the real rewards of a systematic approach?
All five persona agree that in-house resources are most essential in their Cloud journey but all except ‘cautious’ adopters place great importance on partnering with outside experts – system integrators, specialist service providers, Cloud service providers and independent consultants – along the way.
‘Evolutionaries’ placed the most importance of all on these outside experts. ‘Cautious’ adopters are more likely to rely on specialist providers and system integrators than they are Cloud vendors or independent consultants. Only small minorities of any persona believe that outside partners had not delivered added value to their work. ‘Experimental’ adopters are the most likely of all to draw on all types of external expert in their Cloud deployment. The more radical ‘progressives’ regard specialist vendors or service providers as invaluable to their Cloud implementations. Most ‘accelerated adopters’ want quick wins from Cloud providers and specialist service providers above other partners’ offerings.
Public sector organisations are most likely to be adopting Cloud to cut costs (65%), improve uptime (40%), improve productivity (35%) and promote wider collaboration (33%), according to the research. Over half of civil servants questioned see their main IT priority for doing so as dealing with end-of-life IT (54%) closely followed by replacing legacy systems (46%) and then cost-cutting (42%).
A clear majority (73%) of public bodies are in the early stages of their Cloud mission, only a minority (15%) claim to be half-way and none have reached the end of it. Public sector respondents regard in-house teams as crucial to executing their Cloud plans but they also value a range of service providers very highly as project partners, particularly specialist vendors or system integrators. This suggests that public bodies are taking a strategic approach with outside input from strategists and systems experts.
The private sector’s biggest reason for going into the Cloud is also to cut IT costs (56%), followed by improving service availability (50%), then productivity (43%).
When it comes to key IT-driven motivations for Cloud, most private firms’ respondents say reducing IT costs (60%), well ahead of either rapid IT deployment, or ensuring their existing technology platforms keep up with today’s data and storage handling needs.
Commercial sector interviewees’ ultimate goal is to mix and match different Cloud services to transform application performance. These interviewees generally look for tailor-made approaches from their technology service providers, as they execute their Cloud strategies, and its uptake of private and hybrid Cloud is already outstripping on-premise. Private firms are further down the transformation road than public bodies, with a larger proportion at the half-way point (37% against 15%), but they both still have a long way to go on their journey.
A CLEAR MAJORITY (73%) OF
PUBLIC BODIES ARE IN THE EARLY
STAGES OF THEIR CLOUD MISSION,
ONLY A MINORITY (15%) CLAIMS
TO BE HALF-WAY AND NONE HAVE
REACHED THE END OF IT.
PRIVATE SECTOR DRIVERS
1. CUT IT COSTS (56%)
2. IMPROVE SERVER AVAILABILITY (50%)
3. INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY (43%)
WHERE IS YOUR CLOUD
This section examines how UK organisations will reach their required destinations of Cloud-enabled
cost-saving and system resilience as well as optimised applications, including:
• Their planned Cloud destination
• The way they are going about it
• Risks to services and applications; ‘red lines’ for protecting them
• Prospects for bringing together Cloud and on-premise systems
Most organisations (64%) regard their ultimate Cloud destination as a mix and match of Cloud services as the needs of individual applications dictates, followed closely by selective use of public Cloud (57%) and a blend of private, managed and public Cloud services (55%). But this new approach isn’t totally radical: nearly half foresees it as remaining internally-directed in its approach.
Email (at 35%) topped the list of applications that organisations are migrating to the Cloud, followed by storage (at 21%), CRM and disaster recovery (both 17%) and collaboration software (at 16%). Small minorities of interviewees are also moving a wide range of services, from payroll to security, into the Cloud. As they execute their Cloud plans, most CIOs want assurances – their red lines – that core services and system resilience won’t be compromised.
Most organisations’ key demand is avoidance of downtime (56%) and nearly half want clear partners’ and suppliers’ SLAs in place (47%). Interviewees’ lesser priorities were where data will be held, technical support and customer service standards, with control and access to hardware and data sixth on the list. The big difference was the public sector, whose major service-related concern is knowing the location of its data. Aside from service-related issues, the most worrying prospect for CIOs is integrating on-premise and Cloud platforms, a concern or big concern for 90% of interviewees, with similar levels of worry seen across all sectors and user types.
It’s little wonder that organisations are having to implement Cloud pragmatically and flexibly, selecting different private, public and hybrid Cloud services as they need or blending them in some way.
This section shows that UK commercial and Government organisations are planning and slowly executing a considered and practical approach to Cloud deployments. But with so many senior IT managers insisting that Cloud must not undermine the services they are responsible for, and with them showing so little faith in integrating Cloud and on-premise in the future, how are these basically sound
approaches standing up to the realities of implementation?
GOING TO THE CLOUD
1. EMAIL (35%)
2. STORAGE (21%)
3. CRM & DISASTER RECOVERY (BOTH 17%)
4. COLLABORATION SOFTWARE (16%)
WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?
A sense of pragmatism is shared by all three groups defined in the research by their progress on Cloud to date – ‘short’, ‘middle’ and ‘long distancers’.
Short distancers foresee a pick-and-mix of Cloud strategies to optimise key business processes, with selective use of public Cloud, and a blend of private, managed and public Cloud. Four out of five ‘short distancers’ also plan to blend different Cloud services to fast track their delivery of better support to key business applications.
Middle distancers foresee a pick-and-mix of Cloud strategies to optimise key business processes, with selective use of public Cloud, and a blend of private, managed and public Cloud. Middle distance Cloud adopters are among those most prepared to use public Cloud and the most likely of all three groups to blend private, managed and public Cloud to get their desired outcome.
Long distancers foresee a pick-and-mix of Cloud strategies to optimise key business processes, with selective use of public Cloud, and a blend of private, managed and public Cloud. However, more strategically-minded than others, they are less keen on a mix and match approach than the other two groups are.
Most organisations with a long distance philosophy (54%) want selective use of public Cloud services and under half of this group sees internal control of Cloud as their final destination.
Whether ‘short’, ‘middle’ or ‘long’ distance, organisations have ‘red lines’ when managing risks to existing services: they want to be sure that service availability will be unaffected, service level agreements (SLAs) are transparent, location of data is known and they can call on expert technical support. Short-distancers fast-tracking Cloud strategies are most worried by the risk of downtime, while SLAs top the service risk management agenda for long distance adopters.
But can organisations make existing set-ups and Cloud environments work together as one? Heavy majorities in all groups are worried to some extent about integrating on-premise and Cloud systems. Middle and long distance groups were most likely to be concerned with only small minorities of these groups not worried at all by the idea of joining on-premise and Cloud assets together at some point.
KEY DEMAND IS
AVOIDANCE OF DOWNTIME
AND NEARLY HALF WANT
CLEAR PARTNERS’ AND
SUPPLIERS’ SLAS IN PLACE
CLOUD DESTINATIONS BY PERSONA TYPE
Specific or selective use of Cloud services are the most likely paths for ‘evolutionary’ adopters. They are also much more open to bringing in different Cloud services (50%) than the other groups such as ‘cautious adopters’ (15%). They also share common concerns with the other Cloud personas over downtime, clarity of service level agreements (SLAs), data location, integration and technical support. Evolutionaries are also the most likely persona to want assurances that existing services will be unaffected and partner SLAs will be clear.
‘Experimental’ adopters are likely to want to use a mix of Cloud services as much as retaining internal IT resources, and are the group most likely to, ultimately, put everything in the Cloud to get results. They share common concerns with the other Cloud personas over downtime, clarity of service level agreements (SLAs), data location and technical support. Despite being at opposite ends of the risk spectrum, ‘cautionary’ and ‘experimental’ adopters are most likely to demand that service availability will not be harmed by adopting Cloud. None of the risk-embracing ‘experimenters’ mention data location as a potential Cloud issue.
’Progressive’ adopters are seeking business change, they are the group most likely to work with a single Cloud provider and the least likely to want internal IT teams ultimately in control. Most progressives’ desired outcome is to mix and match Cloud services for specific applications or bring in public Cloud services as they need them. This group is more radical, placing less importance on internal IT teams and keeping control of Cloud than some other groups are. However they share common concerns with the other Cloud personas over downtime, clarity of service level agreements (SLAs), data location, integration and technical support.
‘Accelerated’ adopters are focused on speed of delivery and are more likely to adopt an array of public, private, and hybrid Cloud services to fast-track their implementation. However, they are the group most wary of integration risks like data loss and share common concerns with the other Cloud personas over downtime, clarity of service level agreements (SLAs), data location, integration and technical support.
‘Cautionary’ adopters share common concerns with the other Cloud personas over downtime, clarity of service level agreements (SLAs), data location, integration and technical support. Despite being at opposite ends of the risk spectrum, ‘cautionary’ and ‘experimental’ adopters are most likely to demand that service availability will not be harmed by adopting Cloud.
75% of respondents working in the public sector said their ultimate destination was to mix-and-match Cloud services to enhance key applications. Almost two thirds (65%) will bring in public Cloud services where appropriate, however, civil servants are more likely to want in-house control of Cloud roll-outs (58%) than their commercial counterparts (42%). Most public sector respondents are taking a ‘middle distance’ approach (i.e. a hybrid mix of on-premise and Cloud services) that will fluctuate and change over time. They are less likely to take a tailor-made approach to Cloud (27%) than private sector respondents (51%), which suggests they are feeling cost pressures, or have limited room for manoeuvre. Knowing where data is held is the most important of all service-related risks for public bodies adopting Cloud, ahead even of cost-saving and service availability. Most public organisations are risk-averse, their responses suggesting that an ‘evolutionary approach’ prevails.
Looking at whether public bodies can bring together non-Cloud and non-Cloud resources, the overwhelming majority of public sector respondents have some concerns, with one third of them being very concerned. Only 4% are not concerned by the prospect. These results are almost exactly mirrored by private sector responses.
Private sector organisations are likely to see their final Cloud objective as the running of co-existing private, managed and public Cloud services.
Interviewees regard in-house teams as most critical to successful deployment, however, most of them also find outside experts – Cloud service providers, specialist vendors and systems integrators – to be essential in making their Cloud plans happen.
Unsurprisingly, availability and uptime are the most important service-related factors for private sector respondents. Most of them seek an evolutionary approach, but for some, speed and acceleration is the most important factor. Commercial organisations are more experimental, being more likely to use off-the-shelf services (28%) than the tailored approach preferred by public sector counterparts (40%).
Can private firms integrate existing and Cloud set-ups?
On the question of integrating on-premise and Cloud assets, nearly all private sector respondents have some concern over the prospect, with one third being very concerned.
WHAT’S HINDERING YOUR
ROUTE TO CLOUD?
This section looks at the practicalities of UK plc’s Cloud journey and how smooth or rocky the road
ahead may be. It examines whether:
• There is encouragement or momentum for Cloud in different industry sectors
• Whether the implementation journey has seen departures from the chosen route
• Delays and diversions are regarded as part of overall risk or increase it
• Whether delays and diversions from the journey are substantive in nature or harmful to operations
Despite Cloud’s prominence in business debates, senior IT professionals think UK plc has yet to
fully grasp the case for it. More than four out of ten of our research respondents say that their own
industry sector is neutral, outweighing the 37% who are supportive in some way. While only 11% of
respondents encounter hostility to Cloud, just 8% says their sector supports it strongly. Generally
speaking, the more pro-Cloud the industry sector users are in, the more long-term and strategic
their approach is likely to be.
DIVERSIONS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE CAUSED BY INTERNAL
FACTORS, SUCH AS COST-CUTTING (37%), CHANGING BUSINESS
OBJECTIVES (35%), NEW DIRECTION FROM MANAGEMENT (29%)
AND LACK OF INITIAL PLANNING (28%)
Will changing Cloud direction
Most organisations naturally worry that adopting Cloud could conceivably disrupt daily operations. Nearly two-thirds of those interviewed (62%) are concerned to some extent about their service continuity and quality. Almost as many worry about potential theft of data and information (60%), loss of data and downtime (both 57%).
Organisations are also concerned about interruptions to existing services if a change of tack is needed during their Cloud implementation. Should this happen, a majority (59%) of respondents would be most concerned about business downtime, with nearly half concerned about service continuity and quality (46%) and loss of data (45%). Almost a third (32%) would be most worried about theft of data/information.
While most organisations worry about veering away from agreed Cloud strategy, survey responses show that diversions are most likely to be caused by internal factors such as cost-cutting (37%), changing business objectives (35%), new direction from management (29%) and lack of initial planning (28%).
In contrast, market driven factors were mentioned by only a minority (15%) of respondents. Many organisations have been forced to take a detour as they put operations into the virtual realm. Four in ten (40%) interviewees say they’ve had real, if very modest, impacts on their business from making forced changes to Cloud implementations.
Most of those with a ‘short distance’ or more tactical approach seeking quicker results have lost direction, reversed plans and cancelled migrations at some point. Middle and long distance Cloud adopters are also seeing the same diversions on route, although to a lesser extent. However, only small minorities of all three approaches say the consequences of ‘direction change’ were significant for their organisation and none said they were serious. Strategy changes, tactical switches and in some cases, cancelling specific migrations seem so far to be part-and-parcel of implementation programmes, rather than representing serious risks to the organisation.
These low-level impacts suggest that while Cloud has yet to reach anything like widespread adoption in organisations; senior IT managers have carefully investigated and outlined many potential risks and they can’t point to evidence that the new Cloud environments is seriously undermining existing operations. Most telling of all is that where such changes of Cloud direction or low-level about-turns have occurred, senior IT management have noticed some impacts on the organisation, but don’t regard them as particularly significant or harmful.
A rough ride but a driveable road?
Respondents from all types of organisation have seen all sorts of setbacks: changes in strategy, delays as budgets are cut, migrations postponed and even cancelled altogether, that are near-inevitable in any IT programme. It is telling that respondents – ranging from feet-on-the-ground risk avoiders to innovators – have not reported harmful impacts on their performance and systems. There may be bumps along the road to the Cloud, and there’s a long way to travel, but many of the impacts are being managed quite effectively so far.
62% OF THOSE
CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR
60% WORRY ABOUT
POTENTIAL THEFT OF
DATA & INFORMATION
57% WORRY ABOUT LOSS
OF DATA & DOWNTIME
‘Short’, ‘middle’ and ‘long distancers’ Cloud plans are all likely to be held back or veer off-course equally by cost-cutting (37%), changing business objectives or new management/direction (29%) and lack of initial planning for example.
Someone taking a ‘short distance’ Cloud approach is less likely than others to be a clear Cloud advocate just yet, with only 19% of this group reporting support for Cloud options – much lower than other groups. Short distancers are also less likely to be experiencing delays than others, but more likely to fall victim to gaps in staff as they quickly press ahead. A ‘short distance’ approach seems to lead to greater loss of data concerns, whereas for others, the key risk concern is likely to be service continuity and quality. Compared to long distancers they are more likely to be affected by budget cuts but less likely to be hit by changes in organisational objectives. Most ‘short distance’ users, seeking quick results, have experienced losing strategic direction, reversed plans and cancelled Cloud migrations altogether.
Someone taking a middle distance approach is fairly likely to be a Cloud advocate, with 48% in this group reporting support for Cloud options. Positively, middle distancers seem to have less significant risk concerns than the other two groups.
Compared to long distancers they are more likely to be affected by budget cuts but less likely to be hit by changes in organisational objectives. Middle distance Cloud users have some experience of losing strategic direction, or plans getting reversed or cancelled, although with a greater planning and risk-management focus they are less affected compared to ‘short distancers’.
Someone taking a long distance approach is among the most likely to be a clear Cloud advocate, with 64% in this group reporting support for Cloud options. With the most long term strategy of all its likely that they could experience more delays and diversions, although the longevity of their plans is also likely to mean they have had forethought into the obstacles ahead, such as staffing issues, and how to deal with them. With more time spent on planning and implementation, the long distance group is most likely to see specific delays from cost-cutting. Compared to ‘short’ and ‘middle distancers’, they are less likely to be affected by budget cuts, but more likely to be hit by changes in organisational objectives. Long distance Cloud users have some experience of losing strategic direction, or plans getting reversed or cancelled, although with their planning and risk-management focus, they are less affected compared to ‘short distancers’.
HOW DOES CLOUD RISK PROFILE IMPACT THE JOURNEY?
All five risk-defined groups in the research are concerned that Cloud implementation will cause downtime, degrade service availability and lead to data loss. ‘Evolutionary’ adopters are most likely to worry about downtime, while ‘accelerators’ and ‘progressives’ fear project risks as they pursue their rapid and radical Cloud delivery plans.
Cloud users defined by risk see their implementation programmes change direction for the same broad reasons as the survey as a whole: cost-cutting (37%), changing business objectives (35%), new management/direction (29%) and lack of initial planning (28%).
Experimenters are likely to have the benefit of working in a more highly pro-Cloud industry sector with 71% of respondents claiming they had strong industry backing. While ‘experimenters’ are generally less concerned about risks, over half still have big concerns about downtime, loss of control and service quality. But the Achilles heel is a lack of planning, which knocks nearly three quarters (71%) of their plans off-course.
Accelerators are likely to have the benefit of working in a more highly pro-Cloud industry sector with 62% of these respondents claiming they had strong industry backing. Accelerators are also among those seeming most troubled by budget cuts and shifting business objectives, alongside evolutionaries and cautious adopters.
Cautious adopters are potentially among those most challenged by the attitude of their industry sector towards Cloud. Only 20% of them claimed that their industry was pro-Cloud, compared to 71% of experimenters. Cautious adopters are also among those seeming most troubled by cost-cuts and shifting business objectives, alongside evolutionaries and accelerators.
Progressives are likely to have the benefit of working in a more highly pro-Cloud industry sector, with 51% of our respondents claiming they had strong industry backing.
Evolutionaries are challenged by working in an industry sector that is less pro-Cloud than others. 41% of evolutionary
respondents said they work in less supporting sectors, compared to 71% of experimenters. Taking an ‘evolutionary’ approach however seems to minimise the number of delays and diversions experienced on route to the Cloud. However, evolutionaries are among those most troubled by cost-cuts and shifting business objectives.
SECTOR SPECIFIC DELAYS AND DIVERSIONS
Public sector has clearly embarked on its Cloud journey, but despite recent initiatives like G-Cloud, organisations are generally less enthusiastic about moving to Cloud-based operations, with 31% supporting it, compared to 48% in the private sector. Government IT users are also more likely to be undecided as to Cloud’s merits. This lack of awareness, or suspicion, of on-demand systems’ possibilities has far-reaching implications when it comes to their deployment.
Public sector respondents say their Cloud projects are most likely to be delayed by a lack of senior level support (40%), staff shortages and cost-cuts (both 33%) and insufficient project management.
Where public organisations have actually changed direction when deploying Cloud, this is most likely to be down to cost-cuts (38%), new direction from management (33%) and changing objectives (31%).
Most public sector respondents admit to departing from agreed strategy in some way during deployment (58%), reversing their plans (63%) or even cancelling projects (19%). Delays and diversions are impactful on their operations with a majority of civil servants saying they could only adapt to changes slowly and with disruption. Looking ahead, the vast majority (94%) of public sector interviewees are concerned about integration between different Cloud systems with 39% of them very worried.
MOST PUBLIC SECTOR
TO DEPARTING FROM
AGREED STRATEGY IN
SOME WAY DURING
Almost half of private sector respondents felt that their sector is pro-Cloud, which is likely to be encouraging its overall adoption.
However private firms still experience project delays, with cost-cutting and changing business objectives (both 36%) the most common. Conflicting advice from service providers is also a big issue – affecting four out of ten private sector organisations.
During Cloud deployments, just over one third of private firms say they have lost strategic focus, four out of ten admits to reversing their plans and nearly half have cancelled certain migrations altogether. Delays and diversions have a noticeable impact on operations, but private sector users generally have slightly more confidence in managing the speed of change or disruption than the public sector does. However 96%, the vast majority of private firms, are concerned to some extent about integration between different Cloud systems with 40% having major worries on this score.
96% ARE CONCERNED
TO SOME EXTENT
40% ARE HAVING
THE WAY FORWARD
This report shows that UK organisations are starting to realise important cost, service availability
and system recovery benefits, by moving key applications and systems into the Cloud.
Most organisations are taking a pragmatic and evolutionary approach to Cloud implementations;
only much smaller proportions of interviewees want a more rapid, tactical roll-out or long- term,
The majority of senior IT executives are still, however, in the early stages of deployment and only the more adventurous CIOs claim to be well on the way to their destination. Only a minority believes they have finished their journey or even embarked on further development.
Government and private sector users alike are keen to cut costs using Cloud platforms although in the public sector this is a case of replacing worn-out technology and freeing resources for wider collaborations. By contrast, private sector CIOs seek to update systems with on-demand IT models to boost productivity and competitiveness.
We identified five distinct responses by UK organisations to Cloud challenges based on their acceptance of risk, with the most risk-averse adopters planning carefully and wanting to keep control in-house, radiating out to more risk-tolerant CIOs and teams willing to try out more tactical and iterative approaches. Most respondents exhibit evolutionary tendencies, blending Cloud and non-Cloud resources into a hybrid model to support change, as circumstances demand. Despite these variations, it is striking that most organisations regard a knowledgeable in-house IT team as key to
successful Cloud adoption. This requirement goes hand-in-hand with needing an expert partner, whether systems integrator, specialist Cloud provider or IT consultant to help realise plans, at some point along the Cloud journey.
Based on these conclusions and to assist UK organisations in successful Cloud risk assessment, planning, execution and evaluation, Redcentric makes the following recommendations:
• Since organisations remain indifferent or confused over Cloud’s benefits, IT professionals need to demonstrate more effectively to their boards and business units that Cloud assets can transform application performance, service uptime and innovation – as well as cut IT management costs.
• The most successful Cloud installations to date have involved CIOs taking an evolutionary approach with moderate risk and running on-premise and Cloud hybrids. We believe that, with the major part of organisations’ IT system Cloud migrations still to be implemented, the UK’s successful adoption of Cloud depends on these hybrid models being extended, co-existing and complementing each other.
• Since changing corporate objectives or technology budgets cause the biggest difficulties and delays to Cloud deployment – rather than difficulties with new technologies themselves – IT departments must prioritise their Cloud planning by identifying their board or senior management’s attitude to risk, delays or changes of direction, at an early stage.
• Whilst every Cloud journey, its motivations, and barriers to success, is different, senior IT management can address their individual organisation’s needs by working closely with specialist partners at some point on their journey.
• Despite experiencing all sorts of setbacks that are near-inevitable in any Cloud (or other IT) programme, the organisations we questioned – which range from the risk-averse to the daring – have not reported significant or harmful impacts from Cloud deployments. UK organisations and their advisers can use this knowledge to scope out and de-risk the next phases of their move into the Cloud.
The UK’s progress on Cloud is steady rather than rapid, with many organisations still to address the ‘hard yards’ but Cloud computing has considerable and untapped potential to improve UK organisations’ productivity, cut operating costs and speed up their wider IT development and innovation capabilities.