The Challenges Of Enterprise Cloud Adoption
It is easy to get excited about the almost limitless potential of adopting Public Cloud. However, Cloud transformation is rarely a straightforward journey and you may need to overcome a few of these challenges on the way!
Every Cloud transformation has a vision of cloud nirvana, where technology turns your IT estate into a driver of unprecedented innovation and value. Indeed, the potential of Cloud as a catalyst, not just to transform but elevate your business, is worth getting excited about. However, transformation is never a straightforward journey, it is an incremental and iterative process that involves managing significant change, not just to your technology, but your people and processes as well.
Change in large, complex enterprises is always going to be difficult to navigate. No matter how airtight your strategy is, your adoption journey is going to come across some hurdles along the way.
Here are some of the common challenges faced by enterprises as they mature in the Cloud:
Many enterprises struggle with skills gaps when moving to the Cloud. This is mainly because Cloud engineers need to be multi-skilled and are required to perform new functions such as Cloud migration, machine learning/AI, Cloud operations and Cloud security.
According to IDC, 1.8 million IT jobs are predicted to be unfilled by 2022. This talent deficit can be met head-on by identifying the gaps within your business as early as possible and implementing an education program that helps upskill your existing pool.
Cloud computing allows anyone to quickly and easily deploy computing resources. On one hand, this democratization of Cloud could be seen as a positive enabler of more agile working practices. On the other, without robust governance in place, you have the potential emergence of ‘shadow IT’ and the issues related to security, reliability and effectiveness associated with technology not centrally authorized by the organization's IT team.
According to RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera, wrangling cloud governance was identified as a top challenge for all levels of cloud user (84%), with 66% of enterprises using a central cloud team (or cloud center of excellence) to help navigate governance challenges.
To limit the impact, you might consider setting up your own central cloud team or CCoE to help holistically develop a cloud governance model tailored to your business.
For advice on Cloud Governance best practices, read this blog.
Organizations need to manage the cultural shift from legacy thinking towards a more agile approach of working with the Cloud. This has a significant impact on people and also processes and is most successful when initiated from inside-out. Culture cannot be forced on people, but needs to be fostered through encouragement and top-down mindset changes.
Another risk is a half-baked cultural shift, adopting a 'wagile' approach that tries to splice waterfall and agile methodologies together. This, more often than not, does more harm than good!
Wastage can be caused by idle or over-provisioned resources as well as via a failure to successfully adapt governance around the different finance and procurement models that exist in the Cloud. Cloud wastage can be a costly problem for many businesses, especially in their early Cloud initiatives. In fact, the RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera suggested that 35% of enterprise cloud spend is wasted. What's more, optimizing cloud costs was considered the #1 priority for enterprises for the third year in a row (selected by 64% of enterprises asked).
For more information on how you could optimize cloud costs, check out our white paper Transforming Cloud Spend into Strategic Value.
Cloud transformation won’t just impact your IT organization. Its effects will ripple out to other teams, in other departments (Human Resources, Finance, Procurement Legal etc). If the business isn’t aligned with the technological changes being made by IT, then Cloud will become a disruptive element rather than an enabler of more agile working practices and differentiation.
Implementation of Security
The introduction of software-driven security can cause disruption as it often involves moving away from a perimeter focused approach, revisiting regulations and your security requirements and reimplementing policies that may have been in place for years.
The 2019 Cybersecurity Insiders Cloud Security Report showed improper access controls (42% of respondents) Insecure interfaces and APIs (42%) and misconfiguration of Cloud platform (40%) were perceived as the biggest vulnerabilities regarding cloud security.
This only goes to show how adopting cloud prompts mindset changes around almost every point where IT interacts with a business. This is especially true when it comes to security. The cloud can be just as (if not, more) secure as your on-premise infrastructure. However, it requires a completely different, more granular approach.