Five factors stopping the cloud taking off

Whatever the marketing people may say, there is little evidence to suggest organizations are migrating many, if any, of their existing business-critical systems to the cloud.
Beyond the deployment of a few commodity offerings, such as email and collaboration and the development of often disposable in-house applications, most enterprise adopters are using the pay-as-you-go delivery model as a means of introducing new services without dipping into tightening capital expenditure budgets.
However, there is a great deal of interest from start-ups with little money to spend upfront, as well as from the independent software vendor community, which is looking for a platform on which to build new software-as-a-service-based applications (Saas) to sell to customers.
Neil Ward-Dutton, a partner at analyst company Macehiter Ward-Dutton, said "The majority of the market in the short term remains software vendors, which isn't surprising as there are a lot of inhibitors for enterprises."
Key challenges
The factors inhibiting wider take-up include technology-based concerns relating to security, reliability, network latency, integration and management, as well as worries about data and vendor lock-in.
However, another key challenge is cultural. "Many IT people will resist this, because if a big chunk of the data center migrates to the internet, it's their jobs you're talking about," said Ward-Dutton.
Moreover, while the decision to undertake more traditional outsourcing is typically made by the business or chief information officer in conjunction with the business, the mechanics of hosting a data center is perceived to be predominantly an IT issue, which makes it easier for managers to muddy the waters and introduce delaying tactics.
Nonetheless, in the medium to long term, it is likely to be a career-limiting move to turn one's back on the potential advantages that cloud computing has to offer in terms of cost-cutting and boosting staff productivity.
Because such services can act as a useful complement to on-premise systems, it makes sense for IT directors to take the time to understand and investigate them to see which might make the business more competitive.
So, while the "death of the IT department is greatly exaggerated", according to Tom Austin, head of software research at Gartner, he also believes, "you can't ignore cloud". The key instead is about finding a balance, rather than rushing into it headlong, because, he said "like everything, cloud has its place".
What this all means is that it is crucial for IT departments to take a measured approach to the subject. And an important place to start relates to migration issues.