Saying “No” to the Cloud May be an Early Indicator of Digital Darwinism for You or Your Business – Insights from Symantec Vision 2013

Few if any in IT dispute the reality of the cloud or the impact that it is having on businesses. But too many in IT are still prone to say “No” to cloud deployments in THEIR business out of fear of the unknown associated with the cloud. This mindset is now becoming more dangerous as it may turn into a self-fulfilling form of digital Darwinism for you and/or your business.

A recent survey of 1300 IT decision makers across 13 countries performed by Insight Express that was commissioned by Cisco found that over 70% of these individuals planned to leverage cloud services in some way. Whether it was using the cloud to host storage (25%), ERP (20%), email (16%) or some other web-based application, these survey results reveal that most organizations move to the cloud is real and undeniable.

Granted, there were some results in this survey that the cloud gives these same organizations pause. For instance, 60% of those planning to migrate their email to the cloud and 59% of those planning to migrate their storage to the cloud put their plans on hold. This suggests that even those who have firm plans in place to move to the cloud are not doing so with reckless abandon. Rather they take a careful, thoughtful approach. Then, as they encounter unexpected obstacles, back off on their migration plans until they address those challenges.

These results raise two important questions:

  • First, what challenges are they encountering that give them pause?
  • Second, why are only 70-80% planning migrations to the cloud and not 100%

The survey did not answer either one of those questions. However, this morning’s keynote panel presentation at Symantec Vision 2013 provided some insight into what these challenges might be and what might happen to those businesses that fail to take advantage of the cloud.

On the first point, Symantec’s Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer, Angela Tucci, speculated during the panel session that security is probably the main reason that companies are not adopting the cloud (private or public) in greater numbers. Fujitsu’s CTO for Application Services, Cloud and Strategic Solutions, Dr Alex Bazin, also chimed in and said, “IT must change its mindset from just feeding and watering servers to enabling business value. To do this, it must identify service providers that give them the option to say ‘Yes’ to business initiatives.

Despite Tucci’s security concerns and Bazin’s observation that IT needs to change its mindset, research indicates that expenditures on cloud services in general and cloud storage in particular is poised to explode in the years to come – presumably once these security concerns are overcome. Tucci specifically mentioned how Amazon Web Services (AWS) is poised to hit $10 billion in revenue by 2016 and $20 billion by 2020. This would make Amazon a larger software company than Symantec.

As to why only 70-80% of businesses are planning for the cloud rather than 100%, Bazin’s thoughts give some insight into what is going on in businesses. IT is often overwhelmed dealing with operational issues and day-to-day firefighting. As a result it is easier for them to say “No” than take time to fully equip and prepare either themselves or their business for migrating to and adopting the cloud.

Those who take this latter approach may find this to be their undoing. In light of the amount of value that the cloud offers to businesses, businesses are going to pursue the cloud with or without their IT staff. Bazin warns, “IT must work with the business on defining the business path to the cloud. If IT does not, businesses will do it without IT which will likely result in a much less secure cloud.”

Tucci was more direct that Bazin. Saying “No” to the cloud is in essence a potential death sentence to your career and even your business. She points out, “The cloud is inevitable and if you are not planning to adopt it, you need to ask yourself, ‘Why?’ Digital Darwinism is going on right now and those who fail to plan for the cloud might find either their career or their business laid waste by failing to adopt it.

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