The move to cloud computing is inevitable and inexorable. However, for large enterprises, frequently burdened with strict regulatory requirements and a constantly evolving threat environment, adopting cloud is not a trivial matter. Enterprises can miscalculate the organisational impact of cloud by not viewing it holistically or “at scale”. Even organisations with the best intentions can get off on the wrong foot if expectations are not carefully managed from the outset.
In our experience, now spanning three countries, multiple industries and almost a decade of engagements, we have noticed a common pattern as large enterprises seek to introduce cloud computing into traditional IT environments. This post describes that pattern and how it can be avoided in broad strokes. For a more detailed discussion of common adoption pitfalls and a methodology for successfully adopting cloud at scale, please download our whitepaper: Building the Core Foundations for Cloud at Scale.
When cloud hype hits enterprise reality
To educate its clients on the lifecycle — maturity, adoption and application — of emerging technologies, research firm Gartner developed an insightful methodology dubbed the “Hype Cycle”. It provides a conceptual representation of the maturity of emerging technologies through five phases: Technology Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment and Plateau of Productivity.
We have seen a similar cycle in terms of cloud adoption in large enterprises. In a typical cloud adoption scenario, there is a trigger to begin the journey — perhaps the competitive need to achieve faster time to value, to overcome integration challenges after an acquisition, to reduce capital costs or to address data centre constraints.
Next, the cloud initiative is released amidst great fanfare. Demand races off, well in advance of the organisation’s ability to meet it (and remain within regulatory requirements), until it reaches a “peak of inflated expectations”.
When those expectations aren’t met, through a failure to provide proper training, not recognising the fundamental shift in IT delivery methods associated with cloud, or other factors, a “trough of disillusionment” typically follows. The initiative wanes and security and compliance often step in to limit or rein in the initiative to ensure proper governance. Cloud adoption slows or stops completely with no path to full production.