AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Users 'Extremely Satisfied' During Pandemic

Even so, IT leaders plan to switch or add vendors in 2021. Why?

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

November 17, 2020

5 Min Read
Cloud computing trends
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AWS, Azure and Google Cloud each appear to be doing well getting their customers through the COVID-19 pandemic. But is that enough to keep organizations from defecting to rivals?

The data – and the question prompted by it – comes from SPR. The Chicago-based digital consultancy, and Microsoft and Amazon Web Services partner, interviewed 800 people to uncover the findings in “Building A Resilient Cloud.” Respondents consisted of 400 IT decision-makers and 400 IT line-of-business employees.

Of those, Azure came in with the highest percentage of “extremely satisfied” users (72%). However, AWS trailed closely at 71%. And Google Cloud, which featured the lowest adoption rate among respondents, came in at 57%.

Nonetheless, a large percentage of IT decision-makers plans to switch or add public cloud vendors in 2021, despite saying they’re satisfied now with those providers. That represents one of the stranger outcomes in the report. While 63% of decision-makers using public or hybrid cloud cited extreme satisfaction with their vendors, 69% of that same group intend to make big adjustments. Some indicated they are “somewhat likely” to change or add cloud providers. More than a third (39%) ticked the “extremely likely” box. Right now, 62% of respondents rely on Azure, 61% on AWS and 58% on Google Cloud.

Making a wholesale shift will prove difficult, SPR warned. Such an overhaul puts a dent in both budget and workflow. And it might not even be the right move.


SPR’s Kevin McMahon

“The decision-makers’ reaction is an example of trying to solve the problems of yesterday rather than preventing those that are to come,” Kevin McMahon, executive director of cloud enablement for SPR, said in the report. “Leaders should know better than to rebuild their cloud from the ground up and should be more resilient in the face of adversity. Starting over will only lead to inefficient operations and expensive costs.”

Of course, augmenting current cloud environments with other brands is neither uncommon nor inherently reactive. In fact, so-called multicloud is becoming the configuration of choice among organizations. This may be where more IT decision-maker respondents were focused, rather than on replacing one cloud with another. Because the survey question combined two separate potential actions, it’s not possible to parse them. If indeed more IT decision-makers aim to incorporate more clouds into their environments, that makes sense. Multicloud architecture gives organizations greater redundancy. It also lets IT take advantage of unique capabilities within each platform, regardless of whether the arrangement combines public cloud with hybrid and/or on-premises.

Still, SPR’s George Burns III, senior consultant of cloud operations, warned against knee-jerk reactions when it comes to upending the cloud environment.

“The answer to improving the cloud shouldn’t be to terminate a solution or add a new layer,” he said. “Conversely, there’s substantial knowledge to be gained from learning what went wrong or what could be bolstered. Unless there are objectively definable issues, the mission for IT leaders should be to refine the cloud, not redefine it.”

What’s Hindering Cloud Maturity?

The latter point ties into another finding SPR came across during its research. IT leaders say data privacy (50%) and security (42%) stand out as the two main barriers to reaching their next desired level of cloud maturity. Privacy and security can’t risk compromise, especially with more people working remotely during COVID-19. SPR recommends IT leaders and their teams review their cloud deployments on a regular cadence. The channel partner also advises making sure all people, processes and technology meet operational standards on a consistent basis.

However, try to avoid excessive holdups. Frontline workers responding to SPR listed outdated IT infrastructure, slow implementation and testing, excessive bureaucracy and lack of communication among departments as hindrances to effective cloud. VARs, MSPs, integrators and other channel partners can help their customers do better by providing guidance and acting as a liaison.

Yet, even if the majority of SPR’s 400 IT decision-maker respondents dump one public cloud vendor for another, the sector itself continues to grow. Gartner on Tuesday released its forecast for next year. Worldwide, public cloud spending will grow 18.4% in 2021 to $304.9 billion, the firm said. That’s up from $257.5 billion in 2020, largely due to the effects of coronavirus.

“The pandemic validated cloud’s value proposition,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “The ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organizations to rapidly accelerate their digital business transformation plans. The increased use of public cloud services has reinforced cloud adoption to be the ‘new normal,’ now more than ever.”

Indeed, Gartner said the proportion of IT spending shifting to cloud will accelerate once COVID-19 passes. Analysts project cloud – whether AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or someone else –will make up 14.2% of total global enterprise IT spending market in 2024, up from 9.1% in 2020.

In the meantime, channel partners can expect to see high demand for the next 12 months. That’s the time frame during which organizations have ambitious cloud goals, SPR said. The consultancy found that 54% of IT decision-makers need to increase operational efficiency. Thirty-nine percent need to protect consumer data privacy. And 37% aim to improve security. Each of those requirements falls under the auspices of many a cloud channel partner.

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Channel Research

About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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