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Mounting challenges threaten the promise of cloud in A/NZ

By Catherine Knowles
Thu 24 Mar 2022

Cloud and data centre leaders must address misalignment exacerbating cloud costs and changes in strategic direction, according to a new study from ADAPT.

The local research and advisory organisation completed an in-depth survey of 143 Australian/New Zealand heads of cloud, infrastructure and technology representing organisations responsible for one-quarter of Australia’s GDP and 10% of its workforce

Matt Boon, director of strategic research, commented on the 2022 Connected Cloud and Data Centre (CCDC) study.

He says, “Despite the accelerated migration of workloads to cloud over the last few years, the issues of cost and complexity brought on by multi-cloud environments remain barriers to success.

"That said, through migrations to cloud, value and operational efficiencies are still being realised across Australian organisations.”

Overall, 84% of cloud, infrastructure and tech leaders identified a lack of skills as a concern preventing the success of cloud initiatives, making it the second highest business priority behind improving operational effectiveness (86% of respondents) for the year ahead.

The tech skills identified as in shortest supply were:

  • Cloud architects (67%)
  • Security professionals (63%)
  • High-EQ tech professionals with managerial ability (53%)
  • Enterprise architects (44%)
  • DevOps engineers (41%)

In order to attract and retain talent, 31% of surveyed leaders say that in addition to non-financial measures, they plan to allocate extra funding to the uplift of employee experience over the next twelve months.

Boon says, “The most successful technology leaders understand the importance of an outcome-first over a cloud-first mindset. Record levels of complexity has meant the need for leaders with a strategic, cloud-agnostic vision has never been greater.

"As the skills shortage persists, organisations are realising some of the greatest value brought to the table by cloud providers is the expertise which, more often than not, in-house technology leaders have struggled to secure because of the wide range of skill sets needed.”

The top five reasons for cloud repatriation were unexpected costs, changes to policies and strategic direction, a lack of reliability, consolidation initiatives, and concerns around support levels.

Boon says, “These responses show clear misalignment within organisations as well as between organisations and cloud providers. With misconfigured environments, unexpected data transfer costs and poorly planned economics causing cloud migrations to fail, we must do better to solve these problems through better alignment and partnerships if the promises of cloud are to be fully realised.”

When selecting suitable cloud and data centre vendors, technology leaders ranked the following criteria in order of importance:

  • Security (89%)
  • Ongoing support and SLAs (88%)
  • Ongoing costs (80%)
  • The reputation of the provider (72%)
  • Fit with existing technology (66%)

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability measures were also ranked among 44% of respondents key criteria when assessing vendor suitability.

According to Boon, “While the idea of sustainability at all levels of the organisation is being bred into us, we need to think about tangible ways of bringing the conversation around cloud sustainability to centre stage as it remains a low priority relative to security, support level and cost concerns.

"Most organisations believe that with operational efficiencies come sustainability benefits, however that isnt always the case, which means the onus is on technology leaders to raise questions around sustainability with their vendors to ensure better ESG outcomes.”

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