Are we ahead of our abilities in the race to the cloud? Moving to the cloud doesn’t mean that the headaches of managing technology are also outsourced to a third-party vendor. In fact, the rapid push to the cloud may outpace organizations’ ability to keep up.


Photo: Joe McKendrick

Thanks to the Covid crisis, 2020 was a boom year for cloud adoption, and it turns out things got pushed even deeper into the cloud in 2021. There’s no end in sight to the cloud boom, and with it, new challenges for technology teams .

This is the gist of a recent investigation of 300 IT executives by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, underwritten by Splunk, which finds that today, most organizations still have most of their technology systems in-house. But get ready to start saying goodbye to on-premises computing. Things are going to change drastically, and in the next couple of years most businesses will run primarily on the cloud.

Over the past year, 67% say their organization has accelerated the adoption or implementation of cloud applications, services or infrastructure already planned – an increase from 56% who said their organization had done so following the Covid-19 pandemic in the previous year’s survey.

The cloud will continue to accelerate, according to the survey. The majority (65%) predict that more than 60% of their IT portfolio will reside in the cloud within two years. This represents a jump of 30 percentage points from today. A total of 85% say at least 40% of them will be in the cloud by 2023, up 32% from those who say a large portion is in the cloud today.

“However, the rapid acceleration and expansion of the cloud has brought its own challenges, not only in terms of integration and management, but also in terms of new concerns around cybersecurity, data privacy, measurement of return on investment and cloud talent”, underline the authors of the study. outside. “With most respondents leveraging the cloud in addition to their on-premises systems and anticipating the maintenance of such hybrid cloud infrastructure for the foreseeable future, the difficulties in effectively managing these complex environments are evident.”

For starters, 62% of IT leaders say they have difficulty keeping up with the rapidly changing technology roles and responsibilities needed to manage growing cloud adoption. Managing data in mixed environments also creates new challenges. “As you add more cloud providers and more applications, your complexity changes a lot,” according to Jay Bhat, chief information security officer at Franciscan Alliance, quoted in the study. “Each time you add a new environment, it increases the complexity of how you share and protect data and ensures that only the right data goes from one environment to another.”

Company education is an essential part of an effective strategy. The Harvard Business Review report describes how Chegg, a technology and education information publisher, has revamped its cloud approach over the past year to create smaller, more flexible cloud accounts for its business teams to use. engineers. “We’ve been in the cloud for so long, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t,” said information security manager John Heasman, quoted in the study. “We found ourselves in a position where we needed to step back and review our architecture to align with cloud infrastructure best practices and improve our overall processes.”

Heasman and his team have focused on educating company executives on how its cloud strategy will translate into new services. “It’s not just about saying, ‘Here’s a new account. This is yours,'” Heasman says. “It took a lot of planning to ensure the right level of monitoring while allowing our team to take full advantage of cloud-native technology.”

Note that hybrid on-premises/cloud environments will be the dominant mode for some to come. Eighty-five percent of respondents say their organization has a hybrid cloud environment today, and 88% expect their organization to maintain a hybrid cloud approach for the foreseeable future.

In the unprecedented cloud push of 2020-21, the shortage of talent to manage hybrid environments has become the number one problem. Here are the main issues that arose:

  • Lack of talent required to manage the cloud 45%
  • Increase in cybersecurity/data privacy concerns 44%
  • Difficulty integrating cloud services/data 34%
  • Lack of end-to-end visibility into the technology environment (in the cloud and on-premises) 31%
  • Cost increase 24%
  • Making hasty choices that create more work later (e.g. technical debt) 23%

Again, many of these issues will fall to IT teams and cannot be effectively outsourced to cloud providers. Survey finds that only 21% of IT leaders strongly agree that their cloud providers provide all the tools and processes needed to manage and optimize their cloud environments, while 42% somewhat agree . “Cloud providers will always overestimate the value of cloud technology,” Bhat says, especially when targeting non-tech business leaders. “Technology is only one piece of the puzzle,” he says. “In order to get the most out of it, you need to put the right people and processes in place and commit to the process of rolling out new features, testing and changing your business processes. the value of moving to the cloud.”