The Many Faces of Cloud-How to Choose the Right Cloud Model

Susan Hall
Slide Show

Is Your Cloud Provider Enterprise-ready?

Ten questions that IT organizations should be asking cloud computing providers before signing on the dotted line.

Ouch! IT service providers and outsourcing advisers don't think much of enterprise customers' facility with cloud computing, CIO.com reports. In a survey by KPMG Sourcing Advisory, service providers and advisors were asked to rank IT executive customers' cloud knowledge on a scale of 1 (very unskilled) to 5 (very skilled).

 

  • On managing and governing cloud initiatives, advisers ranked them on average 1.69 and providers marked them 2.19.
  • On cloud sourcing and structuring cloud engagements, advisers said 1.81 and providers 2.35.
  • On their ability to assess the near-term maturity of cloud computing and its viability to support enterprise computing needs: 2.19 by advisers and 2.68 by providers.
  • On understanding how cloud computing options can complement or supplant traditional enterprise systems and outsourcing investments, advisers ranked them 2.03 and providers 2.81.

 

The story quotes Stan Lepeak, director of KPMG Sourcing Advisory Global Research, addressing in particular the lack of business cases showing that cloud computing will save money:

It's not so much that buyers are not skilled at cloud computing capabilities, but that they have not had much real-world practice at utilizing them, or that there is not enough relevant, real-world data available from providers to do meaningful business case assessments.

He called the learning curve for IT outsourcing buyers "elevated, but not steep," adding:

It's as much a function of practicing the skills as acquiring them.

These skills in cobbling together various cloud services - a previous CIO.com article refers to these folks as "cat herders" - are in increasing demand. Bob Kelly, a Microsoft vice president for server and cloud platform marketing, recently told Computerworld:

Most of the work going forward will be integration, and architectural in nature. There will be a need for people in all levels who are thinking about a composite world. You have to think about how parts fit, which is an architectural mindset. ...


That's not to say these buyers will be architects, but surely that mindset must prevail. David Linthicum at InfoWorld, meanwhile, sounds the alarm about the lack of cloud architecture talent, saying this could lead to bad clouds. The problem will be settling for what you can get, rather than what you need, he says.

 

He proposes three ways to get the talent you need: buying, building and renting. Buy it (he's talking poaching) from other companies that are building and implementing cloud technology. You'll pay big bucks for it. Build it with consultants who do the work and teach your staff at the same time. Finally, rent it by outsourcing with a company that has the experience and track record of doing it well.



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