Iland recently hosted a reception and panel discussion for senior IT executives at the Soho Hotel as part of London Technology Week. Our keynote speaker was William Fellows, Research Vice President of 451 Research. William talked about the key business and technology issues that were likely to play a large part in the future of organisations as they continue to migrate to the cloud.
In particular, he shared with us his views around best practices for service provider evaluation. He said that IaaS was not enough, providers also need to host and manage their cloud services better, and customers should avoid vendor lock in. He also talked about the importance of enterprise engagement along with the provision of secure services at reasonable price points to avoid runaway costs.
Interestingly, he likened the service experience that cloud providers need to adopt to Uber’s cab services. Uber has created what can only be described as a revolution in the taxi market. Today 33 per cent of all taxi rides in London are being taken with Uber, which equates to over one million rides per day. The runaway success of Uber’s business model is linked to the company’s service based approach, whereby the customer is always king.
So where is the cloud experience falling short? The traditional methods that many cloud service providers continue to use deliver low customer satisfaction. This includes long delivery times and fixed, upfront costs. Uber, on the other hand, provides its customers with options such as dynamic, real-time pricing, and above all it doesn’t underestimate the importance of customer service.
William went on to describe the cloud market as the “end of the beginning” whereby everyone wants to be a cloud company. The issue is the ability of any of these organisations to bring the right skills and technology to the table and offer a reliable experience for customers. Another challenge he highlighted is that as cloud becomes more mainstream, we are moving from pilots to production, which raises the stakes. As a result, there is growing pressure to pick the right cloud partner who can provide the right level of leadership and guidance.
Following William’s presentation, we had an interesting panel debate with Simon Herbert, Cloud Solution Development Specialist, Cisco and Sue Daley, Head of Big Data, Cloud and Mobile Services, techUK. The session focused on the challenges organisations face in the cloud space and much of the conversation revolved around compliance, which we all agreed is huge. Support is equally a concern for most customers, as many companies perceive that they will get a better level of support than they are actually receiving. Other topics touched on included Openstack, shadow IT and empowering lines of business while meeting corporate IT requirements, encrypting data, data protection and the fact that customers are now realising that cloud costs are starting to balloon – therefore how do they make their cloud environment more affordable?
We concluded with the recognition that everyone isn’t at the same stage in their cloud journey and that there is still a fundamental lack of understanding – hence a need for providers to educate businesses about their choices and options, which is of course where iland can help! London Technology Week certainly generated a lot of interesting discussion around cloud, and we, for one, remain committed to our consultative approach to service that ensures we can meet the diverse needs of our customers around the globe.