Rackspace: Business leaders, not IT departments, drive enterprise cloud adoption

Rackspace report into cloud migration trends reveals business leaders are more likely to lead the move off-premise than IT people

Senior business decision-makers are more likely than IT departments to be the driving force behind cloud adoption in companies, new Rackspace research suggests.

The hosting provider commissioned Vanson Bourne to quiz 250 IT decision-makers and 250 business decision-makers about their cloud migration plans, and one-third (32%) of respondents said it was the latter group that tended to champion the use of off-premise technologies within their organisations.

Also, 22% of those questioned said their company’s use of cloud was being spearheaded by the IT “development” department, while 18% said the board was pushing them to adopt the technology.

“Just 14% said the IT operations department was the main sponsor of the migration project, and 11% said a business leader with no knowledge of the cloud was the main instigator,” said Rackspace’s Anatomy of a Cloud Migration report.

“Overall, this means that CEOs, business leaders and boards of directors drive six out of 10 (61%) cloud migrations,” it added.

In cases where the move to cloud was being led by a business leader rather than a tech one, it is far more common to see companies employ a third-party organisation to oversee the process, the report said.

As for the reason why business leaders, rather than IT decision-makers, are leading organisations’ cloud charge, it could be because adopting cloud is seen as a way of cutting costs from the business.

Indeed, 61% of those surveyed cited IT cost reductions as the main reason why they were moving their IT off-premise, followed by the need to increase resilience and boost their organisation’s  disaster recovery capabilities (50%).

Improving security and business agility were flagged separately by 38% of respondents as their top reason for adopting cloud technologies.

“One difference between IT decision-makers and business decision-makers is that the business decision-makers rate improving security as one of their top three drivers (42%), while increasing agility is more important for the IT departments,” the report said.

“What is interesting is that businesses and IT departments are now also recognising the resilience and security benefits of the cloud – again driven by the fact that applications are now directly revenue-generating and no longer simply exist as IT cost centres.”

Read more about cloud adoption trends

According to Rackspace, this trend is being fuelled by the fact that companies are increasingly wary of falling victim to cyber attacks.

“Cloud providers are giving businesses access to a highly secure datacentre with technical professionals monitoring activity 24/7/365 as the de facto standard,” the report said, which is a level of protection few firms may have in place for their own infrastructure.

However, while improving security is seen as a reason to move to the cloud, the report also suggests that cloud security concerns remain the biggest overall barrier to adoption in many organisations.

Some 48% of respondents confessed to being fearful about data security and privacy in the cloud, and 55% of IT decision-makers citied it as a barrier to adoption, compared with 40% of business leaders.

Broadly speaking, these concerns fall into two categories, the report said, with some firms preoccupied with fears over data security, compliance and monitoring, while others are focused on ensuring their corporate information is locked down during the migration itself.

Brian Kelly, chief security officer at Rackspace, said that, overall, the report’s findings suggest companies are increasingly comfortable with entrusting their data to the cloud.

“Cloud has long been associated with a loss of control over information, but more and more businesses are now realising this is a misconception,” said Kelly.

“Organisations are increasingly seeing the cloud as a means of keeping their systems and information safe and, in the year ahead, security will be an accelerator, not an inhibitor, of cloud adoption.”

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