Cloud computing may be just about everywhere now, but organizations have yet to be able to channel all this activity into substantial business value. That’s because cloud engagements tend to be all over the enterprise, meeting tactical or departmental requirements as they arise, not part of a grand strategy.
That’s the key takeaway from a recent survey of 6,159 executives, conducted by IDC and sponsored by Cisco, which finds that only about one in seven organizations with multiple cloud workloads (14%) actually have managed, or optimized cloud strategies. The largest segment, 47%, say their cloud strategies tend to be on the fly – “opportunistic, or ad hoc.”
Barely a handful, three percent, could define their cloud strategies at the top of the continuum, as “optimized,” defined as “delivering innovative IT-enabled products and services from internal and external providers;” and driving “business innovation through transparent access to IT capability, based on value to business, and transparent cost measures.” And only a somewhat larger group, 11%, were at the next-best level, “managed,” in which their enterprises are “implementing a consistent, enterprisewide best-practices approach to cloud;” and “orchestrating service delivery across an integrated set of resources.” So, in total, only 14%
These cloud leaders are seeing tangible benefits from their efforts, the Cisco-IDC survey finds. On average, the most “cloud-advanced” organizations see an annual benefit per cloud-based application of $3 million in additional revenues and $1 million in cost savings the study’s authors state. “These revenue increases have been largely the result of sales of new products and services, gaining new customers faster, or accelerated ability to sell into new markets.”
The cloud leaders seem to be doing things a bit differently than the rest. For starters, hybrid is a key strategy for the optimized bunch, with 95% of those leading organizations employing hybrid IT environments that use multiple private and public clouds based on economics, location and governance policies. A majority of optimized cloud organizations are employing technology strategies such as DevOps, which aligns the output of developers with operations requirements, microservices architectures, which break down monolithic systems and applications into more bite-sized, granular components that can be mixed and matched to ongoing requirements, and containers, which support highly mobile applications that can run within any cloud or non-cloud environment.
Overall, nearly 68% of all the organizations in the survey are using cloud to help drive business outcomes, up from 42% just one year ago. The increased cloud adoption is being fueled by cloud-native applications, including security and the Internet of Things (IoT) cloud-based solutions, the study’s authors state.
Obstacles to achieving greater cloud maturity, the survey finds, include skill gaps, legacy siloed organization structures and misalignment between line of business and IT departments.
(Disclosure: I have conducted project work in the last 12 months for Cisco, mentioned in this survey, as part of my research work.)
This article was written by Joe McKendrick from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.