The results are in

We’ve just closed our survey of 350 C-level business and technology executives about the strategies, opportunities, and challenges of migrating to the cloud. 

Next we’ll segment responses by industry, company size, region, profitability, and other parameters, and analyze the data to identify broad trends and connections as well as key variations between and among categories.

This will allow us to understand cloud migration strategies for companies from around the United States, approaches to security across industries, and the wants and needs of executives who are looking for cloud and managed services providers.

Check back with us for initial analyses, interesting findings, and other insights we’ll glean from this data. By next month, we’ll have our initial briefing paper, with think pieces and infographics to follow.

Cloud News Roundup

  • Massachusetts is leading the way when it comes to public cloud computing. The state government pledged $3 million to Boston University’s Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) project, which promises to be a groundbreaking experiment in public cloud computing. The project will be developed by BU’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering in collaboration with technology companies and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, where the MOC will be based. The MOC will be open to multiple vendors who would all have equal access, operating in what founders liken to a shopping mall model. Banding together allows providers to draw enough traffic to leverage their economies of scale; partners for the project range from academic researchers to corporations. The idea for the MOC came from a 2009 research paper, whose authors argued that with a MOC cloud model, “many stakeholders, rather than just a single provider, participate in implementing and operating the cloud. This creates a multisided marketplace in which participants freely cooperate and compete with each other, and customers can choose among numerous competing services and solutions.”
  • As the cloud grows, companies are traveling to the ends of the Earth to power it. Greenpeace estimates that if the cloud were a country, it would be the sixth biggest consumer of electricity—right behind Russia and in front of Germany.
  • Forrester estimates that public cloud services have entered a period of hypergrowth—2013 saw $58 billion in revenues, which will push to $191 billion by 2020. Software as a Service offerings represented the bulk of those revenues, $36 billion, but cloud platforms are a surging area. Some more trends: SaaS will continue to replace existing systems, cloud platforms will rival traditional infrastructures by 2020, and going forward, public cloud services will rival traditional middleware for customer engagement.

Cloud Insights #BBGtech

Yesterday, we attended the Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit here in New York City. Not surprisingly, the cloud—its implications, uses, and future—was a hot topic. Notably, there were opposing viewpoints on the future of the private cloud datacenter model.

Benjamin Fried, Google’s CIO, and Scott Weiss, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, both contended that the private cloud model was dead, saying that public clouds are safer, more secure, and allow for scaled used that private companies cannot compete with or afford. Long live Google and Amazon!

Not so fast, said the senior technology executives on another panel.  Mike Capone, Corporate Vice President of Product Development and CIO at ADP and Stephen Little, Xerox’s CIO, disagreed with the death-knell predictions for the private cloud. Both are using private and hybrid-cloud solutions to secure the massive amount of data their respective companies hold and see value in continuing that arrangement.

Other topics also led back to the cloud.

“Big data solutions have been solutions in search of problems,” said Fried.

Continue reading

Cloud News Roundup

  • CMS put together a list of five key steps for migrating your company’s SharePoint content to the cloud. However, since SharePoint has limited migration tools, the task can be difficult. Some things to keep in mind: consider which cloud configuration is right for your business, establish a realistic timeline, identify what content is needed and what can be left behind, test the migration, and verify the results.
  • While the U.S. government is experiencing some hiccups in migrating to the cloud, the San Francisco city government will soon become the first major city to upgrade to a single cloud network. The city will be using Microsoft’s Office 365, which is compliant with the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) guidelines, which unites police, safety, and health departments under one cloud. Microsoft also accommodated the city’s accelerated migration timeline,  simplifying the process and building specific paths to complete the migration.
  • The next wave of cloud migration is likely in human resources. Many companies still use decade-old HR systems and applications, are see an opportunity in switching to cloud-based human relationship management (HRM) software, rather than going through a lengthy and painful migration phase. The average timeframe for a switch to HRM software is about three months.

Listening to cloud users

We can build so much more complex stuff when the basics that bog down deploying and maintaining servers get simplified and commoditized.

Thoughts from Dave Winer, one of the key developers of the tools behind what we now call social media, on the future of cloud services.

The full promise of cloud technology will be realized when it’s delivered the way end-users and developers want it. Getting there will require vendors to listen, not just sell.

Infographic: Big numbers on cloud migration

cloud infographic snip

This infographic features some big numbers about cloud adoption. For example: 80% of cloud adopters saw improvements within six months of migrating to the cloud; the average organization uses 545 cloud services; and the majority of workloads are expected to be processed on the cloud this year.

It’s a little rah-rah for our taste — count on our survey to include more details about challenges and costs — but interesting nonetheless.

Click the image above or here for the full infographic or more statistics.

Long road for the government’s cloud migration

“Federal agencies have a long road ahead of them in their migration to cloud computing. Even after the decision to migrate is made, uncertainty looms about the best way to approach the migration for government agencies.”

An article on BSMinfo.com details some of the challenges for the government’s (eventual) migration to the cloud. These challenges mirror those faced by any organization moving to the cloud, but on a massive scale.

In 2012, the Government Accountability Office detailed seven specific challenges for government implementation of the cloud, a list that should sound familiar to any organization in the process of migrating to the cloud: obtaining guidance, acquiring knowledge and expertise, certifying and accrediting vendors, ensuring data portability and interoperability, meeting federal safety requirements, overcoming cultural barriers, and procuring services on an on-demand basis. Two years on, those challenges still exist, and recent events and legislation further complicate matters.

Many agencies have a fast-approaching June 5 deadline to comply with fedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program), and recent security breaches highlight potential vulnerabilities of the cloud. Even then, government agencies have no clear exit plan once the migration happens. The government has a long way to go, but the path is laid out—the trick is sticking to it.

Enemies of the cloud

This recent article from David Linthicum at InfoWorld argues that organizational culture, not technology, is the biggest barrier to company-wide cloud adoption.

“The vocal opponents to cloud computing we heard in 2008 are mostly quiet in 2014. However, they are still lurking. Today, they use closed-door conversations to call the cloud into question, often for the wrong reasons. By doing so, they create a toxic culture around the use of cloud computing—or any new technologies that may prove to be innovative and helpful but threaten the status quo,” Linthicum writes.

His proposed solution? Tasking the cloud skeptics with evaluating the pros and cons of adopting the new technology. Given the responsibility, they are more likely to take an open-minded approach and make a thoughtful decision about the value of cloud computing to your organization. And, of course, any reservations they may have will be valuable in the implementation stage.

Internal struggles are common in organizations looking to make changes to their IT processes, as C-suite and line of business leaders have different priorities and may face gaps in communication.

Does your company struggle with decision-making when it comes to IT? Do you have a strategy for overcoming this barrier?  We’d love to hear from you.

The cloud is reshaping technology spending

Following the theme of our recent post, What the cloud does to IT, check out this report on IT spending.

The key takeaway: “Power in technology purchases shifting from CIO to CMO, CFO, VP of Sales and line executives.”

More from IDC:

The business technology spending market will grow at 6.9% 5 year CAGR from $236.6 billion in 2012 to $330.7 billion by 2017, while enterprise IT grows slowly at a 1.9% 5 year CAGR from $213.0 billion to 233.5 billion over the same forecast period.

Cloud, mobile, social, and analytics are driving the momentum in business tech spending– and obviously cloud is an enabling technology for the other three.

The positive scenario here is that business units end up with the technology they really need, when they need it. The less rosy outcome is chaos. The difference between the two will be in large part how well companies plan and execute their strategic shift to the cloud.