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. This, for 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 cloud, on 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 over-provision.

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 on. For 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 integrations with 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 rebuild. The 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 unknowns, you may be putting your business at risk. Relying on old technologies usually means decreased productivity, increased security concerns, lowered 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.

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.

It’s 2020. Do You Know What’s New in Azure Migrate?

It’s 2020. Do You Know What’s New in Azure Migrate?

By WatServ
February 18, 2020

Has your organization been hesitant to migrate to Microsoft Azure because of missing functionalities from Azure Migrate?

Are you considering using Azure Migrate, and wondering what’s new?

Over the course of 2019, Azure Migrate announced a series of updates to their services, adding a wide range of new and expanded tools and functionalities.

These changes strengthen the hub and provide additional capabilities to help organizations assess and migrate their on-premise infrastructure, applications and data to Azure.

If you were hesitant to use Azure Migrate before, it may be worth another look.

Here is a recap of some of the changes Microsoft made to Azure Migrate in Q4 2019:

  1. Addition of a physical server assessment feature. This means Azure Migrate now supports the assessment of o n-premise physical servers.
  2. Addition of an import-based assessment feature. Unlike before, you can now conduct assessments of machines using meta data and performance data in a CSV file.
  3. Better dependency visualization features. Previously, you needed to install agents for dependency visualization, but now it can be accomplished using both an agentless and agent-based approach.
  4. New application discovery features. Are you using VMware VMs and wanting to undertake discovery? Azure Migrate now supports application-level discovery apps, roles and features with the Azure Migrate appliance.
  5. Improvements to Virtual Desktop. You can now assess and migrate on-premise virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure using ISV tools.
  6. Better services for web apps. Assessing and migrating web apps? The Azure App Service Migration Assistant is now part of Azure Migrate.

If you’re still using the previous version of Azure Migrate, you will continue to have access to your projects, but you’ll no longer be able to create new projects or undertake new discoveries. With the current version, however, users can create projects, discover on-premise machines and manage assessments and migrations.

These changes expand on the version update that occurred in July 2019. To learn more about the functionalities of this version, visit Azure Migrate’s website.

Wondering if Azure Migrate can help your organization? Speak with WatServ’s cloud migration specialists today by contacting us.

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.