Stan Lepeak, Managing Director, Global Research
There have been significant discussions on the potential benefits and risks of cloud computing in all of its instantiations (infrastructure/platform/software/business process as a service). While it is important to identify, assess and debate these points it is also critical for buyers to assess the adequacy of their collective skills required to address and exploit cloud computing opportunities. This is in part an exercise in defining and executing a cloud computing strategy in the context of larger IT and sourcing strategies as well as having the capabilities to execute the strategy.
Despite the potential of cloud computing, if buyers cannot successfully execute on its implementation then its adoption can create more problems than it solves. Results from the forthcoming release of the 2Q10 EquaTerra advisor and service provider Pulse survey will show that many buyers have a long way to go in terms of defining and executing a cloud computing strategy.
In the 2Q10 Pulse survey EquaTerra polled leading global service providers as well as EquaTerra advisors and asked them to rank typical buyers’ skills to perform five different sets of activities related to cloud computing, using a one to five scale where one represents very unskilled and five represents very skilled. Results show there is clearly room for improvement in typical buyer skill levels (see figure).
- No skills are scored over the mid-point on the one to five scale. The highest score given by advisors, scored at just 2.12, is for understanding the technical underpinnings of cloud computing – how it works. Service providers score this skill even lower.
- Service providers score buyers’ skills at just 2.17 for both assessing near term cloud maturity & its viability to support enterprise computing needs and navigating/assessing cloud vendor/service providers’ markets and landscapes with advisors scoring them at 2.08 and 1.76 respectively.
- Coming in at the bottom of the rankings were skills relating to both sourcing and managing cloud computing initiatives.
It is not surprising that many buyers possess limited cloud computing skills given the immaturity and fast moving nature of the market. The situation is not dissimilar to the early days of the Internet when buyers struggled to define and execute on strategies to exploit its business potential. It is critical, however, for buyers to leverage past experiences, particularly with outsourcing, to accelerate ramping-up cloud computing skills and expertise.
While most buyers are dabbling in one or more elements of cloud computing, most are not yet managing efforts under a formal cloud computing strategy. Defining and executing such a strategy as soon as possible is important to ensure coordination and prioritization of the most relevant cloud computing efforts and to maximize the value from the investment long term. Buyers must work to improve their cloud computing skills to support these efforts and ensure their success.
Click here to register for the 2Q10 Pulse survey results webcast.