It would seem that corporate CEOs may be forging ahead into new business opportunities with or without their internal IT departments. In a recent PWC survey, over 1/3 of CEOs stated that they had entered entirely new lines of business over the past 36 months and over 60% stated they expected to continue entering industries other than their own over the next 36 months. This is tangible evidence that unless businesses can move on a dime, they may not be long for this world over the longer haul. And how successful IT organizations are with enabling businesses transformation may dictate their own long-term survival.
One area that many business leaders and corporate IT seem to agree on is the value of cloud technology for enabling business agility. According to ESG’s 2015 IT Spending Intentions survey, more organizations reported that they will increase their spending on cloud-related solutions than in any other technology area. And 60% of the CEOs from the PWC survey identified cloud computing as either very important or somewhat important to their business initiatives.
But despite these ringing endorsements of cloud computing, there seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding within the C-Level suite about some of the most basic attributes of public and hybrid cloud technology. For example, IT solutions firm Avanade conducted a survey of 1,000 executives across 21 countries and found that:
- 65% didn’t know that hybrid cloud provides the ability to burst (scale up and down) as needed.
- 54% did not know that hybrid cloud includes distinct public and private clouds.
- And “just 16% of respondents were able to identify the full range of benefits afforded by hybrid solutions.”
Despite this knowledge gap, the good news for IT firms focused on delivering hybrid cloud solutions is that C-Level executives are generally very bullish on the strategic business value of hybrid cloud technology. And while business executives don’t necessarily need to hold PHDs in computer science to “get it” from a cloud perspective, this very rudimentary cloud knowledge gap is still quite surprising, particularly since cloud computing has been in the IT vernacular for over five years now.
One of the takeaways here for IT leaders and vendors alike is that some business leaders may simply be paying lip service to the cloud without really understanding how it can enable business agility. In short, some could underestimate, or worse, overestimate, what the cloud can do for their respective businesses. Another possible side-effect is that ignorance about the cloud could lead to poor decision making or just plain indecision - both of which can prove to be deadly in today’s business climate.
Therefore, it might be worthwhile for IT leaders and stakeholders to have a conversation with their business counterparts to level set on what their understanding is and what their expectations are for their cloud initiatives.
Given the findings from the above referenced survey, it’s a good probability that there will be some mismatch between what business leaders think they can or cannot do from a business application services standpoint. This presents an opportunity for IT to understand what those potential gaps are and then prescriptively recommend ways to fill those gaps where needed; enabling IT to forge stronger ties with the business.
This could be one of those rare cases where it’s not about who you know that gets you ahead, but what you know. A little remedial “cloud-for-dummies” education might be a good way for IT to gain and retain the ears of their corporate bosses.