Is the time right to move to the cloud?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
Last week I visited with a client (non-retail) and, almost immediately, the "cloud" subject came up.
Burdened by a somewhat messy application portfolio requiring real rationalization, some of the company’s core systems have been moved to the cloud. I was surprised by the resistance to many of these applications (apparently the vendors initiated this move), and the fundamental suspicion of cloud-based applications.
From the CFO:
"Maybe it’s coincidence and maybe it’s not, but ever since [application name not named here] was moved to the cloud, we have more trouble with it than we did before."
"I am far more comfortable knowing that we have the machines under our own control, in our own building, than under someone else’s control. What happens if the cloud application goes down? We’re helpless."
"It’s not like hardware is extremely expensive. It’s inexpensive enough for us to buy or lease our own."
From the VP of Operations:
"On some level, I don’t mind if they’re in the cloud or not. I would be okay with [application name] in the cloud because there’s not a lot of risk if it’s down for a while, but not with our core operational systems."
The CIO himself was less dug in on cloud vs. on-premise solutions. He was all about chasing functionality and taking it where he could find it. He did believe that he could outsource things like Database Administration, whether his applications were in the cloud or not.
There’s no doubt that many cloud computing platforms work extremely well. There’s also no doubt that some cloud-based platforms are not quite as robust.
We in technology have a responsibility to the industry. Moving to the cloud is not a license to change things at will. The "hacker way" may work for Facebook — but for mission-critical applications, not so much.
Our responsibility remains to take great care in putting out applications that work out of the gate, especially if their deployment is not a choice but a fact of life.
Some people have a rule not to ever install an x.0 operating system. They’re probably wise. iOS 9 was just released a couple of weeks ago. We are already up to 9.02 and my iPad’s on-screen keyboard still flips upside down when I’d rather it didn’t. But at least some of my smarter partners are waiting to do the upgrade. And that’s the point — we have a choice. I made mine and I have to live with it.
Our data has shown real reticence on the part of many to go to the cloud. Real-world observations are echoing that reticence. It’s on our industry to reduce that reticence with quality and choice. For real.
Which retailer concerns about transitioning to cloud environments do you see as most warranted? Are there ways technology vendors can ease concerns?