IT is conservative about the cloud, but it can’t be for long

September 11, 2014

Even as the adoption rate of cloud computing grows, many IT departments are showing a reluctance to acknowledge their reliance on these applications. While the public cloud solutions market is in what Forrester calls "hypergrowth," enterprise-level cloud-based IT solutions continue to face a large degree of resistance.

Forrester estimated that of the $230 billion expected to be spent on total IT infrastructure in the year 2020, only 19 percent will be invested in cloud infrastructure. That means that, based on these findings, 81 percent of that spending will be spent on the traditional IT infrastructure that has defined the industry for the past 15 years.

Perception vs. reality
The findings of the Forrester report are likely to be overly conservative. An Evolve IP survey of 1,257 executives found that the average respondent currently utilized 2.7 cloud based services. The survey found that even the group of respondents who claimed they didn't use the cloud for anything still used an average of 1.4 cloud based services already, despite thinking that they didn't.

Other functional areas of many businesses are already using cloud services – conferencing applications like WebEx, or storage applications like Dropbox. Many in IT, however, remain hesitant to make the jump to the cloud. But why is that?

Full speed ahead, despite the reservations
The conservatism of the survey responses may be linked to this daunting task of transitioning. By asking existing IT departments that rely on traditional IT infrastructure about the future of IT, the survey results may reflect the established IT departments' desire to maintain their position. Indeed, ITWorld says that the apprehension felt by many IT departments regarding moving their infrastructure to the cloud may be why these survey results show such reservations.

There are good reasons why traditional IT departments are uneasy about the cloud. Some departments may not be able to match the quality of existing public cloud services. Others have the monumental task of restructuring the entirety of their infrastructure while keeping costs low and working within their existing constraints. Yet the cost of not adapting can be even greater, as laggards get left behind and overwhelmed by the speed of their competition.

The transition will take time and resources, but IT departments cannot be half-hearted about it. ITWorld recommends starting now and creating a multi-year plan that outlines a long term improvement process. IT departments still relying on traditional technology can certainly catch up to the early adopters, but must understand that it is a long term plan whose benefits will only be felt later.