A survey of 500 IT decision-makers from North America, the United Kingdom, Benelux, and Australia finds that 93 percent plan to prioritize investing in cloud-managed services in the next 12 months, with respondents claiming cloud-managed services could increase productivity by as much as 156 percent.
Conducted by SoftwareOne, a provider of IT services, the survey finds 95 percent believe their team has been negatively impacted by the cloud skills gap, while almost two-thirds (62 percent) report having their workload increase in the last 12 months.
Challenges that the respondents encountered include keeping up to date with security and compliance (43 percent), application performance issues and outages (41 percent), and missing key performance indicator (KPI) metrics when delivering new innovations to the business (38 percent). One-third (33 percent) said they had to restrict their use of the cloud altogether, with an equal percentage noting cloud skills gaps resulted in the business delaying digital transformation projects by five months.
The bulk of managed cloud services are sold by the cloud service providers themselves. However, when managing and securing application workloads, there is still plenty of opportunity for third-party managed service providers (MSPs). The survey makes clear that security and application performance optimization are two areas where the demand for expertise far outweighs the available supply.
In addition, cost optimization expertise in the cloud, also known as FinOps, is being increasingly sought as more organizations continue to encounter economic headwinds.
Trending toward multi-cloud computing
In the long term, the trend is moving toward multi-cloud computing. Today, most organizations that deploy workloads in the cloud tend to run the bulk of them on the same service largely because they lack the internal expertise needed to manage multiple clouds. There may be some workloads running on additional clouds, but enterprise licensing agreements reward customers for running more workloads on one cloud.
However, it’s inevitable the number of organizations routinely running workloads on multiple clouds will steadily increase, especially as technologies such as containers and Kubernetes clusters make it easier to migrate workloads. As that trend matures, the number of organizations that will also look to centrally manage cloud computing will also increase. The single biggest cost of IT remains labor. Many organizations will not be able to afford to hire IT staff to manage multiple clouds in isolation, so a managed service spanning multiple cloud computing environments will become more appealing.
Both an opportunity and challenge for MSPs
At the same time, data privacy and sovereignty issues provide an incentive to continue running workloads in on-premises IT environments that evolve into private cloud computing environments. MSPs that can extend their reach across hybrid cloud computing environments stand to benefit from that trend as well.
One way or another, workloads are going to become more distributed. The challenge and the opportunity for MSPs is to make organizations more aware that there is a way to manage those environments that don’t require them to hire and retain the expertise themselves. After all, there’s still a bias toward hiring IT professionals versus relying on external expertise. However, the scarcer that talent is, the more likely organizations will consider other options.
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