The 8 Biggest Barriers to Cloud Adoption (with Recommendations to Overcome Them)

The 8 Biggest Barriers to Cloud Adoption (with Recommendations to Overcome Them)

By Kazim Somji, Chief Technology Officer
March 25, 2020

In January 2020, WatServ had the opportunity to attend and exhibit at Microsoft Ignite The Tour Toronto. Over the course of the event, we asked attendees who visited our booth to identify their number one hurdle when it comes to cloud adoption. Below is a summary of the top eight issues reported, along with recommendations from our team on how to address them. 

Top 8 Challenges to Cloud Adoption:

1. Insufficient Training

Organizations are struggling to train their employees on new technologies and to encourage adoption. 

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

A great place to start is with online learning and training resources provided from organizations like Microsoft and Google. For instance, Microsoft Learn allows employees to enhance their skills and achieve industry certifications on their own schedules. These types of online trainings usually have learning paths, from beginner to advanced, with avatars to track progression. 

Another method is to deploy champions across your organization whose role it is to coach employees and drive adoption of new technologies. To complement this, your company can put motivational parameters around the framework to further incentivize skills development and adoption. 

2. Complexity Due to Multiple Locations and Divisions 

Siloed IT infrastructure, systems dispersed across various locations and challenges with collaboration are common challenges facing organizations. 

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

Begin by analyzing the current state of your company’s technology delivery processes, organizational model, capabilities and other factors to identify improvement opportunities. After that, you can design a future state model incorporating value network design principles, adaptive organizational structure principles and agile best practices. 

In addition, providing coaching and support can help your team adopt improved delivery techniques and methods to solve immediate problems.  

Finally, in the longer term, implementing cross-functional teams can be helpful for supporting better collaboration and integration, while also avoiding shadow IT.  

3. No Strategy, So No Action

With budget constraints and competing projects, the focus of many organizations is solely on maintaining the status quo. New technologies and ways of adopting them are put on the backburner until they are deemed to be truly necessary. Deployments, migrations and implementations are put off because these processes can take weeks, months or even years to complete. 

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

IT should focus on demonstrating progress by developing an incremental working product. If they wait for the big strategy” to come along, it may never happen or may not be delivered as planned. Instead, by focusing on low hanging fruit first, IT can build momentum and showcase the added benefits of the cloud at critical moments. Together, this can change hearts and minds and pave the way for the introduction of a larger strategy. 

Another approach is to create a roadmap that is divided into several smaller projects and achieved incrementally. Each smaller project can provide its own benefit, which eventually accumulate into a much larger impact. Projects can be accomplished throughout the year without burdening financial resources. 

4. Worries About Data Governance

Although this can apply to many industry verticals, data governance is usually of most concern for government agencies and those in the public sector. There are many myths around this topic, spurred primarily by misinformation.  

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

There is a widespread belief that the cloud cannot protect information. Thisfor the most part, is not true. In fact, for companies that cannot keep up with regulatory changes and internal compliance, the cloud can make it easier. Hyperscale providers, like Microsoft, Google and Amazon review their governance frameworks regularly and can help guide you through the compliance process. They also offer the tools that can help your organization stay in compliance, such as DLP, data classification labels, encryption and so on. Furthermore, their guidance is written in plain language, making it easy to understand for you and your compliance specialist. Finally, public cloud datacenters hold more certifications and security measures than most private cloud or on-premises environments. 

As an example, making your organization’s data center PCI-compliant in an on-premises scenario is not particularly easy. However, the cloud can simplify the process. Similarly, if you want to implement capabilities like PIM (Privileged Identity Management) in an on-premises datacenter, it is complex. With the public cloudon the other hand, it becomes easier. There are still actions needed on the user’s end, and the cloud can’t account for all compliance requirements in all scenarios, but it does offer unique benefits for many customers. 

5. Worries About Data Sovereignty

This concern is felt primarily by the public sector, government, military and defense organizations – organizations that are heavily regulated and that face strict compliance rules. Data sovereignty rules often stipulate that data must be stored within the country and accessed by citizens.  

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

While data sovereignty requirements might have been challenging to manage in the cloud several years ago, both Microsoft and Google have since expanded their datacenters within Canada, and they continue to add more every year. For instance, Microsoft recently announced the availability of more zones in Central Canada. 

Furthermore, data can be restricted to specific geopolitical areas, making it easy to determine exactly where your data is. This, combined with the fact that hyperscale providers must pass heavy auditing processes, provides increased peace of mind. In fact, the Government of Canada recently chose Microsoft Azure, demonstrating that the days of data sovereignty worries are coming to an end. 

6. Challenges with Cost Governance

Some companies hesitate to move to the cloud because they are worried their costs will increase or that they will overprovision. 

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

Despite these worries, many companies that go to the cloud discover that cost governance is easier there. That is because cost management features of the cloud allow you to set budgets, make chargebacks to internal business units, receive alerts when a limit is reached and so onFor instance, you can set up a predefined rule that can turn off or restrict the use of a service when they pass a certain threshold. 

By providing access to data analytics, the cloud enables companies to better predict their costs over several years. Also, Microsoft and Google offer various discounts for upfront payments and so on, which can lead to overall cost savings. 

7. Analysis Paralysis

Sometimes a major roadblock to cloud adoption stems from simply too many options. Over-thinking or over-analyzing options can make it difficult to choose between Azure, Google Cloud Platform, AWS, on-premise and private cloud. 

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

As a starter, it’s important to remember that most customers are already in a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud scenario. For enterprise customers, Microsoft’s cloud platforms are likely being utilized in some form or fashion as the primary service due to existing relationships and legacy technology integrationwith Active Directory and other business applications. 

It’s also important to remember that all of the top three providers – Microsoft Azure, Google’s GCP and Amazon’s AWS – have cloud compute capacity and scale on demand. 

Here are some key areas to examine when assessing their offerings: 

  1. Depth and breadth of service – All of the major providers offer a vast range of services, from compute and containers to AI and ML, but if you have specific current or future business needs, you should compare offerings to see which provider best meets them. 
  2. Geographic needs – All three of the top providers have a global presence, with regions across most continents. However, some organizations have specific geographic restrictions due to factors like data residency or network latency requirements. If you are one of these organizations, doing an assessment of all providers is important. 
  3. Hybrid cloud – All three of the major providers enable hybrid cloud, but evaluating their individual capabilities is important to see which is the best fit. Some organizations that have a substantial legacy footprint will need to integrate with the public cloud for seamless management of identity and security. 

If your organization is having difficulty choosing an ideal scenario, cloud consultants (like our team at WatServ) can help identify your ideal future state and make the leap with confidence. 

8. Complexity with Current Workloads

For many companies, a major worry is whether their current workloads will run well in the cloud. This concern can be a major inhibitor to cloud adoption. 

Recommendations to address this challenge: 

To begin, an assessment should be conducted to confirm what should go to the cloud and how best to get it there. Sometimes it’s a simple lift and shift, other times it will involve a rebuildThe key is to assess accurately, do a proof of concept and, if needed, consult with external cloud experts to discover workarounds or alternate solutions.   

However, by not moving forward due to unknownsyou may be putting your business at riskRelying on old technologies usually means decreased productivity, increased security concernslowered performance and potential end of support from the vendor.  

 

Are you struggling to achieve cloud adoption? Does your organization need help getting to the cloud? If so, WatServ can help. Schedule a time to speak with our cloud experts today and get to the cloud with clarity. 

WatServ demonstrates best-in-class capability and market leadership through proven technology and customer commitment.​

About

WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and  services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with more than 10,000 users connecting from 30+ countries, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.

WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.

COVID-19 Update from WatServ

COVID-19 Update from WatServ

By WatServ
March 18, 2020

As we all continue to monitor the ongoing events of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canada, WatServ has taken additional precautions, based on recommendations by the Government of Canada, to ensure the safety of our employees and clients: 

  • We’ve cancelled all non-essential travel.  
  • Anyone on our team who has recently traveled internationally will be self isolating. 
  • Our team is now working remotely from their home offices and our Toronto office has been temporarily closed.

WatServ has always had a geographically distributed workforce, remote work capabilities and an agile workplace culture, so you can continue to expect the highest levels of service from our team. Furthermore, WatServ has a strong degree of experience and cloud infrastructure is resilient, so your services continue to be stable and available – wherever you are in the world.  

In the days ahead, as we continue to limit in-person interactions, we’ll ensure effective operations by: 

  • Fostering open and honest communication: Now, more than ever, is a time to over-communicate rather than under-communicate and to openly share feedback, ideas, concerns and updates. 
  • Practicing “video on”: We will encourage the use of video conferencing for key meetings with our clients, where possible.  
  • Treating business not as usual: We understand that no business will be spared some degree of impact from this situation and we encourage you to reach out and share your business concerns with us openly and transparently. We will do our part to support your business through this difficult time.

Finally, many companies are currently implementing business continuity measures. If you require resources or information regarding technology preparedness, please reach out to us at support@watserv.com

WatServ demonstrates best-in-class capability and market leadership through proven technology and customer commitment.​

About

WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and  services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with more than 10,000 users connecting from 30+ countries, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.

WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.

Insights from DX3 Canada 2020

Insights from DX3 Canada 2020

By Aleks Hara, Director, Cloud Service Sales
March 16, 2020

On March 10, 2020, WatServ was pleased to attend DX3 2020, Canada’s largest retail, marketing and technology conference. Although day two of the conference was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, our team came away from the event with several insights.

In particular, DX3 painted a picture of the retail industry’s new landscape. Gone are the days when retailers simply had to open up shop and customers would come. Nowadays, customers expect retailers to come to them via personalized advertising and shopping experiences, unique and differentiated touchpoints and customer engagement in the places they’re already frequenting. Every retailer needs to be a technology company in order to survive and thrive in this fast, on-demand marketplace. Failing to connect meaningfully with customers usually ends poorly, as we saw with Forever 21.

So, how can a retailer create personalized experiences? How can they understand and connect with their customers authentically? The answer is data. Lots of data. And, lots of meaningful insights derived from the data.

Many of the exhibitors and sponsors at DX3 2020 were technology SaaS providers that offer solutions to ingest, digest and make sense of retailer data using things like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), proprietary algorithms and other software-based innovations. They provide big companies, like Canadian Tire, with tools to make better business decisions, specifically by leveraging data and transforming it into meaningful insights. These insights can be used to drive new ideas for products and services, as well as spark ideas for unique ways of connecting with audiences.

However, for data analysis to work, a retailer must first collect and provide accurate and relevant data. Before it’s ever analyzed and put into algorithms, it’s got to be the right data. The trouble is many retailers aren’t using the latest ERP or CRM tools and either simply don’t capture enough data or don’t capture relevant data points. 

To combat this, many of the technology vendors we spoke with at DX3 discussed the idea that, when leveraging new technology, companies should take a “crawl, walk, run” approach:

  • Crawl– Implement foundational IT systems that capture, store and segment relevant data.
  • Walk– Add AI, ML and other software to make sense of the data and provide strategy going forward.
  • Run– Rely almost exclusively on software results to make quick and agile decisions.

How can WatServ help? At WatServ, we play an integral role in the early (“crawl”) stages of transforming and updating database capabilities. By offering cloud technology services – such as putting SQL and Dynamics in Azure – we empower retailers to embrace the latest technology tools, which they can then leverage to process and refine their data. The lessons we learned at DX3 reminded us that a strong foundation, like the ones we provide to our clients, is critical to data-driven business success.

Thank you to everyone we met at DX3.

WatServ demonstrates best-in-class capability and market leadership through proven technology and customer commitment.​

About

WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and  services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with more than 10,000 users connecting from 30+ countries, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.

WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.

Considering Migrating to the Cloud? Here are Three Questions to Ask in 2020.

Considering Migrating to the Cloud? Here are Three Questions to Ask in 2020.

By Tyler Doerner, VP, Sales
March 3, 2020
Today, the number of cloud technologies available are practically endless. At the same time, the pace of cloud innovation and development from global giants like Microsoft and Google is truly unprecedented. Together, this poses challenging dilemmas as well as exciting opportunities for companies thinking about making the move to the cloud.
 
If you’re considering moving to the cloud in 2020, here are a few questions to ask yourself.

Will You Tackle Your Cloud Migration and Management Internally or Outsource it?

As we move into 2020, many companies are feeling the pressure to undergo digital transformation – or be left behind. This is further complicated by the fact that internal IT teams rarely have the skillset or bandwidth to support such fundamental change.  So, the question becomes: should you invest in the right people to manage your cloud internally, or outsource the tasks to a company specializing in cloud migrations and management?

More and more, we’re seeing companies choose the outsourcing route. They’ve seen that success most often occurs when internal IT teams shift their focus from maintaining systems to adding value to the business. In fact, many feel the future role of IT will be to work with internal stakeholders to identify business challenges and then seek out technology solutions to solve those challenges. As an alternative to having internal IT teams focus on maintaining network connectivity, patching servers, supporting desktops and so on, businesses are finding that when they outsource these activities, it frees up time to focus on core value-add capabilities.

What Does Your Ideal Cloud Scenario Look Like?

While cloud-based technologies and infrastructure are critical to the future success of most businesses, each use case should be evaluated for economic and business advantages. In highly regulated industries with data residency or sovereignty requirements – or where businesses operate in remote areas where internet connectivity is not reliable – the cloud may not be the right option for certain applications.

To solve for these issues, many organizations are turning to a hybrid cloud deployment. Most companies, whether they know it or not, are already in a hybrid cloud scenario for certain functions – think Salesforce.com for a CRM, Exchange Online by Microsoft for email or an on-premise ERP. These independent technologies may require integration but are deployed in different clouds by different providers.

Determining the right application and deployment scenario is critical to adding value to your business. Choosing the right option will shorten your path to success and deliver critical economic and technical benefits.

What Strategies Will You Use to Get to the Cloud?

There are numerous strategies that can be used when evaluating the future of your existing applications. However, there are three approaches that are often recommended:

  • Re-hosting – This is usually the first and most logical step for organizations looking to migrate to the cloud, especially if there are other external factors creating pressures like a datacenter contract expiring or datacenter issues. Re-hosting involves taking an existing application, and simply moving it to the cloud. The workloads being migrated are generally kept on premise or in a partner-hosted data center. By moving existing business applications to the cloud, you minimize disruption for end users, since they don’t have to learn a new application, while also getting the benefits of a modern cloud infrastructure. Once existing applications have been migrated, it’s easier to start an optimization project, since the applications, data and networking are already in the cloud.
  • Re-platforming – Once an application has been rehosted, the next natural step is to look at re-platforming. (You could also, of course, bypass re-hosting and go straight to re-platforming.) Re-platforming involves taking an existing application to the cloud and then modernizing the underlying technology. It looks to take advantage of the new platform to improve performance, reliability and reduce costs. Cloud service providers like Azure, AWS and Google have a suite of technology available for re-platforming databases, storage, backups, disaster recovery and so on.
  • Repurchasing – This involves looking at the business fit of an existing technology and deciding if it will continue to fit going forward. Sometimes applications can be made to fit and other times they need to be replaced with modern cloud-based applications. Think: moving a legacy CRM system to Dynamics 365 or Salesforce versus custom developing a CRM solution.

When an organization doesn’t have the internal IT capabilities or capacity to handle these activities, working with a knowledgeable provider can ensure a successful outcome.

Looking Ahead to 2020 and Beyond

Cloud innovation is moving at the speed of light. IT teams have much to think about. In addition, the role of IT is changing, and companies are expecting their internal teams to deliver on digital transformation mandates. For each cloud opportunity that’s created, challenges emerge. By understanding cloud options and engaging with the right experts to support internal capacity or bridge knowledge gaps, successful organizations will not only keep up, they can outperform.

Want to continue the conversation? Get in touch with our team of cloud experts today.

WatServ demonstrates best-in-class capability and market leadership through proven technology and customer commitment.​

About

WatServ is an IT solutions provider that helps clients digitally transform their business through cloud technologies and  services. Founded in 2006, WatServ specializes in providing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and hosting complex, high-availability environments for enterprise-level applications. WatServ’s unique approach to planning, migrating and managing multi-cloud environments, plus premium 24x7x365 support, enables its global customers to focus on their core business. Relying on Microsoft and Google’s public clouds, in addition to its own private cloud, the company offers an ideal managed cloud environment engineered for security, reliability and performance. With offices in Canada and the United States, and with more than 10,000 users connecting from 30+ countries, WatServ is always on. For more information, please visit www.watserv.com.

WatServ is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU), a public company with majority ownership by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about BBU is available at www.brookfield.com.