Not every cloud has a silver lining… - Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay IT decision-makers are struggling with the dilemma of navigating cloud requirements coming from digital transformation and AI initiatives and the added complexity of building multi-cloud environments.

This is the baseline finding of NetApp’s 2023 Cloud Complexity Report, which concludes the dilemma has now reached a tipping point. 98% of respondents reported their businesses as having been impacted by such things as the increasing complexity of data created across cloud environments, increased cybersecurity risk (45%), scepticism from leadership (44%), staff not taking advantage of business applications (44%), the lack of visibility into business operations (42%), going over budget (37%) and staff burnout (31%).

This complexity is, says the report, further exacerbated by both technical challenges (88%) like data mobility between clouds and organisational challenges like cost management, and the lack of a clear cloud strategy (50%) or from leadership buy-in. This results in increasing tension between tech executives and leadership over-delivering immediate and short-term ROI vs. long-term benefit.

If you break these two areas down, the top three technical challenges cited in the report are:

  1. data mobility (33%)
  2. security and risk management(31%)
  3. interoperability between cloud services (30%)

At the management end of the spectrum, the top three challenges are

  • a clear vision for their cloud strategy (32%),
  • putting the right level of governance in place (31%)
  • managing costs (30%)

Despite these barriers and tensions, key drivers like data sovereignty, sustainability and cost reduction will continue to make cloud platforms essential. Tech executives are searching for new solutions to their problems, with AI being the tool most broadly cited.

“Our global research report highlights paradigm shifts in how technology leaders look at and manage their cloud initiatives,” explains Ronen Schwartz, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cloud Storage, NetApp.

Ronen Schwartz
Ronen Schwartz, SVP and GM Cloud Storage at NetApp

“As cloud adoption accelerates and businesses innovate faster to compete, technology leaders are facing growing pressure to juggle multiple priorities at once – causing many to rethink how they manage efficiency and security in this new environment.”

The NetApp report was conducted by Wakefield Research during November 2022 and interviewed 300 tech and data executives within businesses across 9 markets, including the US, EMEA and APAC.

What does Enterprise Times think?

Like all good research from a tech company, the NetApp report cites how the increasing complexity of cloud environments has impacted senior IT leaders. It also offer up the opportunities that come from successful digital transformation.

In many respects, we have seen this report many times before. The words may change, the names are different, but the conflict between tech and management oddly remains the same. In the report, an analyst is quoted as saying that NetApp’s survey underscores that cloud technology is more challenging than initially thought. But surely, this is nothing new in the world of IT. Over the last four decades, change always brings dilemmas and conflict between IT execs and their management.

In essence, you can boil the NetApp report down into the following:

  • Cloud platforms have reached a level of technical complexity that could, if unchecked, quite literally stunt a company’s business.
  • ROI is a growing concern amongst leadership. Quite simply, leaders want to see results – now! 84% of respondents say they are now expected to show returns on their cloud investment or are under pressure to at least show a short-term progress. 76% say their CFO is somewhat or highly sceptical of seeing cost savings.
  • AI is, like in many industries being offered up as the panacea to cure all ails. The report states that 37% of respondents said AI-driven applications will support their cloud deployments within the next year. This number will grow to 50% by 2030.

The NetApp report does bring to the surface some key areas that should be evaluated, and the report is well worth a read by any company struggling with its cloud deployment, especially those with a CFO concerned about ROI and budget.

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Neil Fawcett
Cut him in half and the word technologist runs through Neil Fawcett’s core. Starting life as an engineer, specialising in the world of home computing, Neil the move to writing in 1985 and as the expression goes… never looked back. He was key to moving Computer Weekly away from its bias as a mainframe/minicomputer news title and propelled it into the exciting world of personal computing, breaking many an exclusive story. Following his tenure at CW he went on to work for various other publications, including participating in the UK launch of Information Week. During this time, he played a pivotal role in establishing custom publishing units designed to work alongside vendors to help define end-user publications and campaigns. Neil’s ability to take complex technology subjects and deliver digestible content frequently saw him appear on the likes of the national newspapers, the BBC and Sky, and often found himself delivering speeches to audiences around the world. With numerous books under his belt, Neil took time out in the new millennium to pursue a passion for toys/gaming and military history as he set up a manufacturing company with a global reach. He is now thrilled to have come full-circle and be back writing about his core passion: technology!

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