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One of issues that managed service providers (MSPs) encountered with greater frequency in that last year has been the increasing lack of differentiation between cloud service providers. Every time a cloud service provider adds a new capability, others quickly follow suit. The truth is most organizations only employ a narrow sliver of the services made available. Just about all those core services are now perceived to be a commodity.

Not surprisingly, loyalty to a single cloud service provider is on the decline. A survey of 400 IT decision makers and 400 IT staff conducted by SPR, a provider of IT services, finds that well over two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents said they were somewhat likely to switch cloud providers or add another cloud provider in the next year. A full 39 percent said they were extremely likely to do so.

Those decisions appear to be driven more by IT staffs than business executives. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) of decision makers said they were extremely satisfied with how their cloud provider supported them throughout the pandemic. Well over half of IT staffs (58 percent), however, said they were only somewhat satisfied with the support they received during the same timeframe.

The survey finds there is already a significant amount of diversity when it comes to cloud adoption. Nearly two-thirds of respondents are employing Microsoft Azure (62 percent, followed closely by Amazon Web Services (61 percent) and Google Cloud Platform (58 percent).

Despite an overall increase in the number of workloads moving to the cloud, the survey finds more than half of respondents (53 percent) said they delayed migrating on-premises IT to the cloud, while 40 percent delayed making changes to cloud environments. Over a third (46 percent) canceled a best practice initiative.

Discrepancies in shadow IT

The survey also finds wide discrepancies when it comes to shadow IT. Three-quarters of decision-makers said that shadow IT was common, with 38 percent saying it was extremely common. Only 58 percent of IT personnel said shadow IT was common, and 17 percent said it was extremely common.

In terms of top cloud challenges currently faced, IT leaders identify data privacy concerns (50 percent) security concerns (42 percent) as the top two barriers to advancing to the next level of cloud maturity. Conversely, IT staff identify outdated IT infrastructure (42 percent), slow deployment and testing processes (39 percent), excessive bureaucracy or red tape (36 percent) and a lack of communication between IT and other departments (33 percent) as the most significant barriers.

The top three cloud initiatives being launched are establishing an internal central authority to define standards and best practices for cloud (53 percent), improving employee training or education around cloud standards and best practices (52 percent), and improving the ability to automate and decentralize governance tasks (47 percent). In the next 12 months, 54 percent of IT decision makers said they would focus on operational efficiency, followed by protecting consumer data (39 percent) and improving security (37 percent).

Obviously, MSPs already possess much of the cloud expertise that will sought in the coming year. That should bode well for business. The challenge, of course, is going to be convincing IT leaders to look outside for that expertise. However, with each new cloud platform employed the chances that an internal IT team will have the expertise required to optimize multiple cloud computing environments substantially declines.

Photo: Pertusinas / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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