Going cloud is not as easy as we all thought

New research from the CIF suggests that cloud service providers are not providing customers with the support needed to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud. Does anyone a channel opportunity?

“Move to the cloud,” they said. “It’s better up here," they said. "You just click your heels together three times and you are whisked away from that on-prem nightmare, to a more divine plane of existence,” they said.

Apparently, they lied.

Research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) found that over a third of senior IT decision makers believe that their cloud service provider could have done a better job at supporting their migration over to the cloud.

“The transition to cloud services has, for many, not been as straightforward as expected,” says Alex Hilton, chief executive of the Cloud Industry Forum. “Our latest research indicates that the complexity of migration is a challenge for a significant proportion of cloud users, resulting in unplanned disruption to the business.”

The CIF polled 250 senior IT and business decision-makers from both the public and private sectors, and found just 10% said that their migration could not have been improved, while a third wished the cloud provider had offered better initial support. The complexity of migration to cloud was difficult for 38%, while 30% encountered difficulties relating to data sovereignty.

So what is going wrong? Is this a case of end-users not equipping themselves with the information necessary to ensure a smooth transition? Or is it that cloud service providers are not managing the relationship or the process correctly?

The reality is probably a little of both, but from a provider’s perspective, it should be more of the later. Remember, the customer is always right. As Hilton points out, “cloud service providers need to be better at either setting end user expectations or easing the pain of migration to their services.”

It seems an automated response, from many CSPs, is to push a little of the blame back on customers; but the truth is, and all good sales and marketing professionals will agree, that it is the responsibility of the provider to identify pain points and do everything possible to address them. The industry has sold a vision to the business community and it is now the industry’s duty to fulfil those promises by any means necessary.

This chasm, between cloud nirvana and a nimbostratus nightmare, is perhaps one of the single largest opportunities for the channel community today

Never not one to have an opinion on anything cloud related, former Dragon and co-founder of Outsourcery Piers Linney has weighed in on the results, stating that a successful migration to the cloud requires more than a pinch of enthusiasm.

“Moving to the cloud is often more complex than just flicking a switch to get an off-the-shelf-service. Depending on the cloud service being adopted, data will have to be transferred and staff migrated to new ways of working. It can be a complex process,” Piers pointed out.  

“IT leaders looking for a provider should first assess their existing in-house skills and experience to understand how reliant they will be on the supplier to ensure a smooth transition. Equally, cloud suppliers need to be more sensitive to their customers’ requirements and tailor their service to the level of support needed for successful cloud adoption.”

The only duty that should be placed on the customer is one of due diligence, ensuring that they take the appropriate measures to guarantee that a provider is capable of meeting their needs. As Linney puts it, they need to “get under the bonnet of their potential cloud provider, make sure that the have a strong and highly integrated stack of partners and a proven track record of delivery for other customers with needs similar to their own”.

Pain points equal opportunity for the channel

This chasm, between cloud nirvana and a nimbostratus nightmare, is perhaps one of the single largest opportunities for the channel community today. The cloud has fundamentally transformed the value proposition for many resellers and it is pain points like these that allow providers to regain their competitive advantage.

“This starts with investing time in understanding the needs of customers and the channel and then creating a solution that is tailored to those needs,” says Adrian Hipkiss, vice president & managing director EMEA at ShoreTel.

"Simply taking a solution developed for a country or market and launching it in another often leads to problems during or post implementation. It is clear that cloud solutions address many business challenges but it is equally important to understand that choosing the correct cloud solution and implementing correctly is key to ensuring it meets the original expectations. Failing to identify challenges and issues and to invest in solution design and project management are the most common mistakes new entrants into this market make."


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