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Unlocking cloud potential: Are business leaders getting what they need?

7 min read

28 September 2015

Cloud technology is an increasingly important component of a company's operational strategy, but are business leaders using the platform to its full potential?

Last year, cloud industry body CIF reported the adoption of cloud computing amongst UK businesses was set to surge over the next 12 months. The organisation based its prediction on the take-up of cloud which had already been realised.

In 2014, 78 per cent of UK organisations had adopted at least one cloud-based service and UK cloud adoption had grown by 61.5 per cent over the previous four years.

Yet research by StratoGen, part of Access Group, which questioned 1,000 senior business executives on the current use of cloud within their business, has uncovered a potential stall in the adoption of cloud technology.

Cloud usage in today’s UK businesses

Despite industry predictions on the rapid growth of cloud during 2015, over a third (36.5 per cent) of UK businesses admit to hosting less than ten per cent of their business’s IT applications on the cloud. So why has the growth rate of cloud adoption amongst UK businesses failed to meet expectations?

There are two key factors which are contributing to the potential stall in the use of cloud technology – perceived cost and a lack of confidence in uptime and performance.

Money matters

Cost is a key stumbling block in both the adoption and growth of cloud technology amongst UK businesses. Over a quarter (26.2 per cent) of UK businesses deem the price of cloud hosting to be too high for them to move all IT applications into the cloud.

Unexpected or hidden expenses are also a significant pain point for businesses. In fact, a fifth (21.4 per cent) of cloud users cited costs as their main frustration with the cloud.

Hidden metered costs, migration challenges and the time taken to integrate cloud services with legacy systems can all increase the cost of cloud computing.

Subsequently, businesses can far too often find themselves paying far more than the simple monthly subscription fee they signed up to.

At a time when businesses still have the remnants of the most recent economic downturn firmly on their minds, cloud technology should be acting as an enabler to business efficiency, rather than a drain on finances.

In reality, the true benefits of cloud computing, such as fully managed infrastructure, at a fixed monthly price, without any initial CAPEX costs, can easily be realised. Looking at options such as the OPEX model for example, can enable companies to achieve predictable spending coupled with high quality computer power

Read more on cloud enterprise usage:

Cloud performance and frustrated users

When it comes to how businesses are currently using cloud technology, usability and performance are key frustrations being experienced by business leaders. If businesses cannot rely on the cloud to perform daily operations, not only will the workforce become frustrated but also the C-Suite will lose confidence due to their business performance being impacted.

This concern is substantiated in the research carried out by StratoGen. When asked what their greatest concerns are in regards to cloud services, almost 14 per cent of business leaders said they are concerned their employees are unable to be productive due to cloud downtime, resulting in a loss of earnings for the company.

The cloud concerns of business leaders are not something the tech industry should be taking lightly, particularly as over a third of respondents said due to their frustrations and concerns with cloud services, they are ready to remove all cloud-hosted IT applications off the cloud completely. 

It is clear confidence in cloud computing needs to be lifted. Guaranteed uptime and performance are therefore critical and these should be thoroughly explored during the engagement process with a cloud hosting provider to not only understand what guarantees are made, but also how the CSP ensures the guarantees are met.

When a business grows, its cloud service provider should act as a partner in its expansion through the ability to scale the solution in line with business demand, ensuring costs are kept in line with growth but performance is not compromised. In doing so, the frustrations currently being cited by business leaders can be kept to a minimum and uptime (and business growth) pushed to a maximum.

Achieving the benefits of cloud

Many UK companies have adopted some level of cloud computing but having now experienced the technology, businesses are demanding more from it. They want greater uptime speeds, better efficiency and higher performing infrastructure – and so they should, especially as such benefits are easily achievable.

StratoGen’s research has highlighted the pain points being experienced by today’s business leaders when it comes to their incumbent cloud technology. However, the biggest problem of all is companies not having the right cloud solution for their specific needs.

Unexpected metered costs, the challenges of migration and the time that is often invested in integrating new cloud solutions with legacy technology can all be mitigated by having a solution that is tailored to a business’s own unique – and changing – needs.

Businesses and the cloud industry as a whole must change their approach to the adoption of cloud technology – only then will the growth predictions of cloud be realised, as businesses will truly realise the value cloud computing can deliver.

Karl Robinson is the chief commercial officer at internet services firm StratoGen