The many benefits of migrating a corporate IT operation to the cloud either partially or whole hog are almost too many to list. But given the discussion we are about to have, let's cite a few.
- A cloud environment relieves businesses from having to maintain a complex network of onsite hardware and infrastructure or at least scales back the time and effort they must invest.
- It allows for routine updates of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) line of business application that require no downtime for implementation and integration. There are many flavors of public, private and hybrid cloud environments that can meet almost any company’s needs.
- A cloud infrastructure can significantly reduce IT costs, can improve a company's security, can free up internal IT resources to work on the really important tasks, is more flexible and all around more supportive of experimentation and innovation.
The punch line to the joke — a joke on all of us — is that the road to this IT nirvana is full of potholes and pain points. Getting away from these hassles is the de facto reason why so many companies want to migrate to the cloud.
Migrating Woes: Potholes & Pain Points
The report, called "The Impact of Cloud Applications on the Role of IT," surveyed some 269 organizations about their cloud migration experiences.
The usual range of responses were provided but, by and large, the overarching theme the blandly-titled report was that there are pain points, borne mainly by the IT shop, that rarely reach the ears of the C-suite.
And that might be all well and good if the discussion were limited to say, an email application or scheduling program. But the report looks at other, more serious, issues that can jam up a cloud migration — issues that should be brought to the C suite’s attention if only in the form of an FYI.
In short, cloud computing has achieved an almost mythical reputation of being worry-free and somehow "better."
"There really isn't a voice in market talking about the cloud's pain points," Taylor Gould, VP of Marketing for BetterCloud told CMSWire.
Even IT specialist can fall prey to the magical thinking that surrounds the cloud. "You get a sense that you will have control over the cloud environment but what many people realize is that, at least initially, they don’t have the control they would like."
Two findings that support this notion:
- Security was cited as a top challenge by 51 percent of respondents, followed by service quality (30 percent) and integration with business systems/ processes at 27 percent. (All of which, it must be noted, are also supposed benefits of the cloud and all of which are integral to a company’s IT operations.)
- 44 percent of Google Apps users say the cloud office system fits their needs very well, compared with 39 percent for Office 365. (Meaning, of course, that 56 percent and 61 percent, respectively, of these users don’t feel that way and require customization).
Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner hints at some of these issues in its take on the evolution of the ERP industry. We are heading into the era of postmodern ERP, according to Gartner's reckoning.
A good description of postmodern ERP can be found in Thomas Thompson Jr.'s article for FEI Daily, who describes this tech concept more or less as loosely coupled cloud solutions.
A Gartner analyst gave FEI's Committee on Finance & IT a presentation on postmodern ERP, Thompson wrote in his article, which went into great detail about the history and current incarnation of ERP.
What caught my eye, however, was this tidbit at the very end: One of the characteristics of postmodern ERP, according to the article, is that "integration complexity increases, but vendors hide this in the clouds."