Dark Clouds Obscure IT Directors’ Views On Services

Channel News

Fresh research shows the channel has its work cut out to settle the concerns of potential cloud adopters

Cloud failures are increasing the pressure on IT directors, who recognise the accountability burden that comes from selecting the right service provider. So says new research from Damovo UK, an enterprise ICT solutions and services provider based in Horsham, West Sussex.

The survey of 100 IT directors conducted by Vanson Bourne also points to something of a blame game going on at the moment between IT directors and cloud service providers.

Blame Game

The research found that 80 percent of IT directors feel more accountable than ever for cloud failures. Conversely, the majority of IT directors (90 percent) believe that their cloud providers should be held more accountable and offer greater assistance and transparency when things go wrong.

The study also highlights the fact that IT departments are being asked to support increasingly complex and diversified IT infrastructures, usually made up of a mixture of in-house and hosted services, as the cloud adoption trend grows in general.

This mix of architectures is causing the IT director even more management headaches than usual. Over three quarters (78 percent) of IT directors said they are concerned that cloud is actually making IT management more complicated rather than reducing the burden. Some feel that it is time service providers stepped up to the plate to help ease this management burden on the IT director.

“These findings emphasise the need for service providers to do more to assist customers in transitioning to the cloud,” said Kevin Little, head of portfolio and consultancy at Damovo UK. “Organisations are understandably keen to move IT services into the cloud to reap the efficiency benefits and cost savings. Yet trusting an external provider with sensitive data and vital IT operations remains a major consideration for IT departments.”

Little also points to the nervousness felt by company directors, in handing over their sensitive data to an outside third party. “With the infrastructure behind many cloud services transcending geographic boundaries, it’s easy to see why IT departments have anxieties about where their data is residing and remaining compliant,” said Little. “Furthermore, with the threat of outraged customers and finger pointing from senior management, it is equally understandable to see why IT departments have accountability concerns. It is therefore important that organisations receive the necessary guidance, transparency and SLAs from their service providers.”

Cloud Transparency

There is little doubt that the channel continues to benefit from the uptake of the cloud and service sales models. Earlier this month other research revealed that the “resilient” UK channel had achieved double digit revenue growth, with the top 250 UK resellers growing their revenues by an average of 10.73 percent since 2011.

The lack of clarity around the real financial benefits that can be reaped from cloud services remains a concern – certainly in the IT director’s mind. The Damovo study found that a staggering 69 percent of IT directors said they have delayed their decision to move to the cloud as ‘vanilla statements’ from cloud vendors made it difficult to verify whether or not their services are worthwhile. This is a worryingly high figure, and shows the channel has its work cut out to better explain the business and financial benefits of cloud adoption.

Meanwhile, wholesale cloud adoption does not dispel the IT directors worries. The study found that just over two thirds (67 percent) of those organisations that have embraced cloud services have admitted that their disaster recovery and business continuity concerns have also increased.

“It’s perhaps understandable that disaster recovery concerns feature so high on the agenda after the number of high profile service outages and disruption seen over the past 12 months,” concluded Damovo’s Little. “However, the growth of cloud services continues on an upwards curve, so it is it up to service providers to work closely with customers to help them achieve tangible benefits.

“So rather than jumping in at the deep end and moving everything to the cloud, organisations should establish which services they are happy to host in the cloud,” Little added. “For example, 74 percent of IT directors said that they would be more likely to embrace Unified Communications technology if they were able to deploy it via a managed private cloud. Ultimately, IT departments want to move services to the cloud but they want the reassurance of working with providers they can trust.”

Author: Tom Jowitt
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