But first, the bad news.... we are scared of the cloud
Canadian business and IT leaders are surprisingly fearful of cloud computing. In his recent report, IDC analyst Mark Schrutt notes a pattern of “perceived data governance challenges” that seem to prevent Canadian organizations from acting on opportunity to “take advantage of the incremental and competitive benefits that cloud provides.” In an interview with Canada.com the author additionally suggests that Canadian firms are about 10% behind the US in their cloud-adoption rate.
And now for the good news... tackling the fear
On a positive note, Schrutt notes that attitudes are beginning to shift. In this year’s report, improving customer service was the number one priority with 23% of business and IT leaders citing customer experience as their key objective. The use of analytics and cloud-based CRMs is allowing organizations to better understand and their customers and improve sales processes. With productivity improvements (15%), driving cost efficiencies (13%) and retaining a skilled workforce (12%) rounding out the top Canadian business priorities, it is easy to see how cloud-based solutions will begin to drive more organizations to consider cloud offerings if they can confidently map those benefits to the putative reduced cost and increased reliability of the cloud. Business and IT leaders interviewed as part of this study seemed concerned with regulatory issues in cloud adoption, while not being able to explain how data sovereignty or privacy regulations would apply to their data. But over the past few months more businesses have begun to get their data governance house in order and been able to leverage the cloud to develop applications and test systems in significantly less time than with traditional methods. It has been said more than once that Canadian business is not investing enough in fundamentals of long-term productivity and competitiveness. The 2013 IDC-Telus study would tend to confirm a hesitancy to seize the opportunities before us. Yes, the Canadian cloud-services marketplace is less competitive than the US marketplace. But the opportunities are huge for businesses and government organizations that can figure out their data governance. And that is not really asking too much of the bright, well trained people they employ.
While We’re Waiting
In the meantime, government organizations seem to be looking to private hosting implementations with the look and feel of the public cloud—but without that loss of control sometimes associated with public cloud. For some recent examples of government private cloud implementations, see the recent “Public sector turns to Compugen for private cloud,” Computing Canada (July, 2013). These are small but encouraging steps. Let’s make the results of next year’s study something to be really proud of. The Telus-sponsored study undertaken by IDC, Capitalizing on Cloud’s Window of Opportunity for Business Value (Toronto: IDC, May 2013) authored by IDC’s Mark Schrutt, reports on telephone interviews regarding cloud-service adoption and related issues conducted with 250 business and IT leaders from large Canadian enterprises during early 2013. A similar study was conducted in 2012.