How to overcome cloud computing hurdles

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Crossing Your Chasms

Geoffrey Moore's book Crossing the Chasm used the 1957 technology adoption model and highlighted different organization types (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards) and that technology vendors had a significant barrier to overcome between the early adopters and the early majority.

Moore's initial model recognized that organizations fall across the spectrum, but he focused on one chasm. Today, there is much lower resistance to technology adoption because of the Internet, so the gap and potential time lag between the early adopters and the early majority is now much less. In addition, today's organizations can fall across more than one category, depending on their size, structure, and appetite for risk.

We have used the original technology adoption model and identified a number of chasms that organizations may encounter, depending on their organizational type and culture to adopting cloud services. Our goal here is to help identify each chasm and the benefits and risks associated with crossing each chasm. You can then use these chasms to identify which organization types describe your organization and to start molding your own cloud services adoption route.

Use the diagram below to identify the types of characteristics that you associate with your organization, which in turn will assist with the type of chasms you have encountered or will encounter when producing or consuming cloud services. Without addressing these chasms, cloud services will either lose momentum or run wild in your organization. As previously stated, your organization may exhibit multiple characteristics.

Cloud chasm chart
Cloud chasms

As with any model that attempts to characterize all organizations into a small set of categories, there will be exceptions to the rule. In essence, however, this model describes in a generic fashion the current and future penetration of cloud services in terms of organization types.

Risk Realization Chasm

Enthusiasts/innovators tend to jump headlong into cloud services without fully understanding the nontechnical aspects and significance to both IT and the business. Cloud services are not a purely technology play, and enthusiasts commonly miss opportunities to fully realize all the benefits made available by the use of cloud services.

Enthusiasts must understand that technology is an enabler and not the final solution and that their organization requires a cloud strategy that caters for disciplines such as enterprise architecture, governance, risk management, and compliance.

Wider Acceptance Chasm

Visionaries/early adopters want a strategic advantage and have the vision to understand the strategic business opportunity and impact that cloud services offer and utilize it to gain a competitive edge.

Visionaries have enterprise-wide plans and build a roadmap accordingly. Although pilot deployments highlight the benefits that cloud services offer, visionaries encounter resistance when attempting to deploy on a wider basis within their organization. This resistance tends to center on the data privacy and security concerns that the rest of the organization has with public cloud services. In addition to this resistance, another area of concern for visionaries is that the level of benefits highlighted during the pilot does not manifest itself across all the divisions that deployed cloud services. This can come down to various reasons, including the following:

  • Additional challenges that the extra human involvement and interaction bring when crossing divisional boundaries.
  • The cloud management infrastructure cannot accommodate the large amount of cloud services and the federated distributed nature required.

For visionaries to cross this chasm, they must appreciate the need for a cloud GRC [governance, risk management and compliance] model that addresses the decision and accountability required. This requires the visionaries to have the will power and authority to address the political and culture change aspects of cloud services. In addition, visionaries need to provide a cloud architecture and engineering framework that can be applied when consuming and producing cloud services. Lastly, visionaries need to focus on the operational and post-deployment aspects of cloud services, including collecting, aggregating, collating, and presenting key performance indicators to improve engineering, operational, and the business aspects of cloud services.

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