June 6, 2018
When migrating applications from on premises to the cloud, many enterprises are choosing the path of most resistance and unintentionally creating a self-induced cloud skills gap.
That’s according to a study conducted by 451 Research and commissioned by Skytap. Some 450 C-level and VP/director-level technology leaders were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
The report finds that although enterprises have a clear appetite to move to the cloud, businesses are creating additional technical complexity and recruitment challenges in the process.
Skytap’s Dan Jones
Dan Jones, Skytap’s vice president of product, tells Channel Partners the channel needs to understand that the cloud game has “only just begun.”
“These findings show that the majority of enterprises are still running in the data center, yet they urgently want to move those core applications to the cloud,” he said. “So there is a major channel sales opportunity to deliver clearly articulated technology and services that can enable this modernization process. But it starts by first meeting enterprise teams where they are today: on premises.”
More than 80 percent of technology leaders report managing more than 100 applications, with nearly three in four (74 percent) stating at least half of these applications are on premises, according to the study. Another 71 percent of respondents see many of their on-premises applications as mission-critical to their business.
Some two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents plan to migrate or modernize at least half their on-premises applications in the next 12-24 months. As a result of this process, nearly two-thirds of respondents expect better customer responsiveness and to be more competitive.
However, at least half cite common, core business applications, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and data analytics, as least-suited for hyperscale clouds, and report both a lack of skills to manage these applications and an inability to deliver new features as current challenges in their operations, according to the study.
The two top-ranked strategies that respondents report taking when they migrate traditional applications to the cloud are those that require the highest degree of IT skills — 49 percent cited refactoring or rewriting applications as their primary modernization strategy. Embarking on the most difficult path to cloud might be one reason why 55 percent of respondents cited people capable of migrating existing applications to the cloud as their most critical recruiting need, according to 451.
“The challenge is that many enterprise tech leaders presume hyperscale providers will meet all of their needs,” Jones said. “So, clear and consistent education is required to help these decision-makers understand the complexity of their challenge and the purpose-built solutions available to them. The opportunity is to be a real partner to customers in charting their path forward into cloud — a path that still has years – if not decades – of growth ahead.”
The reality of enterprise IT modernization is a myriad of difficult choices exacerbated by both urgent skills needs and the significant challenges created by mission-critical applications left in the data center, according to the study. The research found technology leaders varied widely in …
… cloud and application deployment models, and that while most want to migrate most of their existing applications to the cloud in two years or less, they are in desperate need of the skills to do so.
The channel can help organizations understand that “real change is iterative — it doesn’t happen overnight,” Jones said.
“Selling the dream of a ‘big bang’ will only hurt channel sellers and their customers in the end,” he said. “Second, ensure you understand the range of solutions and training available to support such a progressive transformation. Similar to the ‘big bang’ approach, going ‘all in’ with a single cloud or single approach carries high risk for all involved. Instead, work with customers to understand the business drivers behind the skills challenge, and present clear choices tailored to specific demands.”
“Enterprises are motivated by the clear benefits to leverage cloud services to modernize their IT environment,” said Jay Lyman, principal analyst at 451 Research. “However, the sheer mass and complexity of on-premises application portfolios, combined with the propensity for some to choose the most arduous path to cloud by re-writing and re-architecting, creates a painful skills challenge that requires a more patient, progressive approach to achieve success.”
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