As is the case with all disruptive inventions, the road to cloud computing is paved with resistance. Migrating to the cloud involves major change, not just in equipment and software, but in the way IT operates and is managed, and some companies are reluctant to take the plunge, for a variety of reasons.
Larry Walsh at Channelnomics likens resistance to the cloud to folks’ resistance to using telephones when they became readily available. Disruptive technology is an unknown and can be scary. And besides – why change the way you’ve been doing things after investing years of money and manpower?
According to Walsh, IT directors and C-suite executives are fighting adoption because of security, reliability and accessibility issues. But these are really excuses when the real resistance comes from a fear of change. Migrating to the cloud means changing the way IT is run and consequently giving up investments in infrastructure and administration. Many companies are ultimately scared to take the plunge.
“For businesses, cloud changes management,” writes Walsh. “No longer are IT teams spending countless hours evaluating, testing and configuring hardware and software to an optimal state. No longer will they gear up for major rollouts of application updates and patching cycles. No longer will they have to worry about the physical footprint of data centers. The cloud disrupts the human and technology paradigm, in which we’ve all become accustomed.”
That disruption has also caused IT staff to fear for their jobs. At this week’s VMware World conference in Barcelona, VMware regional manager for Africa Wayne Biehn said this fear has held back virtualization and cloud computing adoption in developed countries.
“In the developed world, the siloed cultures of computing, applications, storage, networking and security creates job security for these guys because they have their own silos of expertise,” said Biehn. “They see automation as a threat when in fact it’s an enabler and a liberator, allowing all these siloed teams to work together as a true team for the first time.”
Walsh’s comparison of cloud computing adoption to acceptance of the telephone reminds me of my early days working on Internet Telephony magazine, back in 1998. VoIP was just coming out of hobbyist mode and tech companies were scrambling to figure out how to improve and market “next-gen” IP products and services to the enterprise. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined where the communications space would be 15 years later.
Having recently read Gartner’s (News - Alert) report on disruptive technologies for 2014, I have trouble envisioning where the market will be in the next few years – let alone the next 15. So, while companies may be putting up resistance to cloud adoption for the time being, that resistance will ultimately be worn down as the benefits of migrating to the cloud outweigh the perceived benefits of holding onto legacy equipment, and a legacy mindset.
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