Execs Worried About Getting Left Behind by Cloud Innovation

The vast majority of IT pros and executives are concerned about missing out on emerging technology developments in cloud computing.

That's one of the key findings of a recent survey by cloud data management company Commvault, in conjunction with CITO Research. The companies polled 100 IT pros, among them 62 C-level executives, for their "2017 Executive Cloud Survey" report published in August.

An overwhelming proportion of the respondents -- 94 percent -- expressed at least some concern about the rate of innovation among the top cloud providers and their ability to keep pace with it. About eight out of 10 were either "very" or "extremely" concerned.

Given the accelerating pace of feature rollouts and updates between market leaders Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, that concern isn't unfounded. At the time of last November's re:Invent conference, for example, CEO Andy Jassy said that AWS was on track to roll out about 1,000 new features in 2016. That's up from 722 in 2015 and 516 in 2014.

[Click on image for larger view.] AWS CEO Andy Jassy at the 2016 re:Invent conference. (Source: AWS/YouTube)

For its part, Microsoft has posted over 120 Azure feature announcements for 2017 so far in its Azure update page. A separate roadmap page currently lists about 70 Azure features "in preview," with an additional 10 "in development."

IT pros aren't just worried about the top two cloud providers, however, but about Google and Oracle, as well. "IT leaders are attempting to track developments across all four of the major cloud providers," according to the report. "When you consider the collective marketing spend and presence of the top four players, this element should not be underestimated."

In addition to the pace of innovation, respondents also expressed concern over their ability to manage unfamiliar cloud technologies. Half cited "understanding how to use new cloud services" as a barrier to cloud migration. The lack of skilled employees to support cloud projects was also a cause for concern among 65 percent.

As for how IT pros and executives educate themselves on the latest cloud developments, the methods are wide and varied, with no single strategy emerging as the clear winner. Both tech publications and other colleagues were the preferred information sources of 60 percent of respondents. However, the channel also had a strong showing, with 56 percent saying they keep up with the cloud via "consultants, systems integrators and channel partners."

On the bottom end, conferences were favored by 44 percent of respondents, while vendor Web sites were chosen by just 33 percent.

Uncertainties about skills and education notwithstanding, organizations appear to be going full bore with cloud adoption. A full 93 percent have either completed their cloud migrations or are in the process of doing so, while 87 percent say they expect to increase their cloud budgets over the next fiscal year.

Overall, the survey's findings suggest that "the migration toward the cloud is underway in full force, even as companies struggle to understand cloud capabilities," according to Dan Woods, CTO of CITO Research, in a statement.

The full report is available here.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.


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