Now that many IT organizations are getting a handle on managing more than a handful of cloud applications, the areas where they need extra help is becoming much clearer.
A new survey of 148 IT professionals conducted by Beagle Research Group and thinkjar on behalf of FinancialForce.com, a provider of ERP applications delivered as a cloud service, finds that just under 40 percent of the respondents are now managing four or more applications in the cloud.
More interesting from the perspective of IT services providers are the issues that organizations that have moved applications to the cloud are having. According to the survey, capped or reduced IT budgets top the list, followed by slow performance; application accessibility; synchronization problems; operating multiple databases; number of applications; enabling technologies in use; and ongoing data quality concerns.
In short, many organizations are starting to realize that managing applications in the cloud just might be more challenging than running them on-premise.
Cloud management challenges
Perhaps most telling in that regard, 48 percent report that the size of the IT team responsible for managing cloud applications has increased. The cost of labor is always the most significant element of any IT budget, so that increase suggests that the total cost of supporting cloud applications is heading in the wrong direction for many of these organizations.
To be sure, the benefits cloud computing brings to the business are substantial. Just under half (49 percent) say cloud applications have increased customer service. Another 47 percent said their cloud apps have improved the speed of preparing management information, and 55 percent said the apps have improved the quality of that information. But achieving and then sustaining those benefits is coming at a significant cost.
While none of these issues is likely to come as a surprise to IT services professionals, it does suggest that the bloom may be off the proverbial cloud computing rose. As organizations gain hands-on experience with managing cloud applications, many of them are encountering technical issues that either exacerbate existing challenges or introduce entirely new ones to their organization.
Increased need for external IT help
Regardless of the cause of the problem, the pressure on internal IT organizations to address those issues is going to be high. For example, the survey notes that half of the respondents said the decision to go to the cloud was made in collaboration with line-of-business units. Another 21 percent said IT plays a supporting role in making that decision, and 16 percent said IT makes the decision on its own. Only 13 percent said IT doesn’t participate in that decision at all. That means that any and all issues associated with cloud applications generally has significant visibility inside most organizations. As such, internal IT organizations are going to be anxious to solve problems as quickly as possible.
Put it all together, and it’s clear that a critical mass of issues surrounding the management of cloud applications is starting to build. As those problems and challenges continue to manifest themselves in 2016, the more likely it becomes that more organizations will be inclined to search out external expertise to help resolve them.