3 Common Misconceptions About the Cloud
It is estimated that over one-third of the IT market infrastructure spending this year was allocated to cloud-related technologies. From finance, supply chain, sales and marketing to HR management, cloud-based services are growing by leaps and bounds.
According to Gartner, the time for the cloud is now, and its rapid acceleration is global. They expect spending on cloud-based services to reach $250 billion by 2017. Yet even with such an exponential rate of growth, many organizations are still evaluating whether replacing traditional on-device software with the cloud is right for their business.
While some of the hesitation is the result of educated consideration and vetting, much of it stems from a host of pervasive myths about cloud computing that need to be debunked. From concerns about losing control to security issues and integration challenges, it's important to separate fact from fiction.
Although there are quite a few misconceptions about cloud computing, here are the 3 that we see most often that need to be addressed.
Myth 1: IT will lose control over the organization's technology
A common belief held by IT departments is that moving business applications into the cloud will require them to give up control and lose autonomy.
This is not the case. It is actually your organization's IT team that typically manages access, sets up credentials and determines the rights and restrictions of all business applications even when they are hosted in the cloud.
Additionally, moving to the cloud can increase IT's control over its applications by centralizing data and making it accessible to more users in more locations.
Cloud solutions can enable collaboration across departments and deliver apps and data to users on multiple devices from any location, resulting in more control of your business, not less.
True, a third-party provider may oversee your servers, storage and networking, but the applications themselves can still be managed by your in-house developers. And since time spent maintaining hardware and upgrading software are significantly reduced, your IT team can focus on more strategic, forward-thinking initiatives.
Myth 2: Integration with legacy systems will be costly or impossible
Organizations often have a need to integrate new applications with existing applications, and their assumption is often that it is not possible with a cloud-based solution.
On the contrary, cloud-based solutions are designed to fit seamlessly into your infrastructure, which can make them highly configurable. Some cloud-based services offer the ability to connect and interface with your on-premise programs through straightforward integrations most IT departments can handle with little or no support.
While it's true that most cloud-based providers are still in the nascent stages of developing products that can be knitted together with on-premise applications, there are other vendors who are ahead of the curve. SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft already offer robust turnkey integration software in the cloud.
Even more promising, Integration Platform-as-a-Services (iPaaS) is an emerging middleware market focused on providing pre-built connectors and mapping that enable faster development of integration flows. In some cases, these tools are so user-friendly that they employ the use of drag-and-drop tools.
Gartner has even dedicated its own Gartner Magic Quadrant to the unfolding market, predicting that 35% of large and midsized enterprises will be using some type of iPaaS offering in the near future.
Myth 3: There is a lack of customer support provided by most cloud providers
The reluctance to embrace cloud-based solutions for some companies stem from a fear that there will not be a viable level of customer support available. Because of some unscrupulous cloud providers, companies assume that they'll be left with no one to call when it's time to configure systems, troubleshoot platform issues or address downtime issues.
The notion of not being able to reach someone in the event of a crisis is enough to make anyone moving a mission-critical system to the cloud - like your website - to think twice.
While some cloud-based solutions have been guilty of not providing adequate personalized customer support, that should not be the expectation for each and every cloud solution on the market. Cloud providers differ in their approach to customer service, and there are many who offer extremely robust customer service departments and support level agreements.
During your due diligence period, make sure you inquire about a service level agreement in writing that meets your needs. Some key questions to ask include:
- What do you do in case of a DDoS attack?
- Have you endured one?
- Can you share what the experience looked like from a support perspective?
- How do you recover client data in the event of a loss and in what timeframe?
- Do you leverage a multi-tenant model, single tenant model or hybrid?
As your organization weighs the benefits of moving business applications to the cloud, it's important to differentiate myth from fact. The cloud may not be right for your organization's entire suite of business applications, but a hybrid model where a portion of services are migrated to the cloud while the others remain on-premise, is an ideal way to dip your toes in the water.
Industries That Have Gone Almost Completely Cloud:
- CRM (Salesforce.com)
- Support (Zendesk)
- Financial ERP (Netsuite)
- Email Marketing Service Providers (iContact, Mailchimp)
- Customer Engagement (Hybris, Marketo)
- HR (ADP)