Why Are Cloud Transformations Challenging?


More than two decades in, cloud computing is no longer a technology that requires a herald or proselytizer. What began with government agencies and then financial institutions seeking expanded storage solutions and an alternative to enterprise applications anchored to physical locations has matured into a cornerstone of many services the average person uses and benefits from every day.

But even as companies ponder exactly how, when, and to what extent cloud services such as IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and cloud native solutions might best serve their needs, one thing remains constant—cloud transformation is complex and fraught with potential pitfalls.

Here are just some of the challenges that need to be fully understood and accounted for before embracing the cloud.

  • Lack of Expertise and Skills. Transformations are complex and require specific skills. Most organizations are configured toward Run vs. Change, leading to an initial shortage of expertise in cloud technologies.
  • Poor Planning and Strategy. This may seem obvious, but a clear strategy is necessary to guide the overall transformation and align cloud objectives with business goals.
  • Cultural Resistance. Organizational culture plays a significant role in the adoption of cloud technology. Resistance to change can hinder progress and may lead to the failure of the cloud initiative.
  • Poor Cloud Governance. Inadequate governance mechanisms can lead to sprawl, compliance risks and operational inefficiencies.
  • Cost Mismanagement. Cloud costs can spiral out of control without careful management and understanding of the cloud pricing models and credits.
  • Security and Compliance. Security breaches and compliance lapses not only endanger an organization’s data but can also lead to legal repercussions and loss of customer trust.
  • Wrong Choice of Cloud Model. It’s crucial to recognize that not every application or workload seamlessly integrates into the cloud. Some applications, in their current state, are better suited to on-premises or Colo facilities. Selecting an unsuitable model (IaaS, PaaS, Cloud Native) can lead to performance and cost inefficiencies. Organizations must meticulously assess their requirements to determine the most suitable cloud model for their specific needs.

So, yes, obstacles abound. Each of the above examples are themselves complicated and differ in nuance from industry to industry and from company to company. Nonetheless, with executive buy-in, careful planning, the deployment of skilled resources and, perhaps most importantly, engagement with the right suppliers, risk can be minimized and a true cloud transformation achieved.