A global survey published this week by Accenture finds that in the age of the cloud more customers are willing to rely on managed service providers (MSPs). The survey of 200 senior IT professionals from large businesses finds that  87 percent of respondents say they would consider the use of managed cloud services.

Overall, the Accenture report presents a very nuanced state of the cloud. The survey finds 96 percent of survey respondents have achieved some degree of their expected outcome when shifting to the cloud. However, only a third of survey respondents said they fully achieved their expected outcomes across the four categories of cost (34 percent), speed (36 percent), business enablement (35 percent), and service levels (34 percent).

In fact, the survey reveals that not only have two-thirds of customers not achieved those goals, over half the survey respondents that rely on public cloud services said that while they have achieved their cost saving goals, only 28 percent said they have achieved their speed-to-market goals.

The tops obstacles cited in achieving their goals include security and compliance risk (65 percent), complexity of business and organizational change (55 percent), legacy infrastructure and/or application sprawl (43 percent), and lack of cloud skills with the organization (42 percent).

The rise of cloud computing bodes well for MSPs

The most interesting aspect of those challenges from an MSP perspective is that they all fall into areas that cloud service providers can do very little about. Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google have been significantly expanding the scope of the managed services they sell both direct and via their partners. While those offerings could potentially have an adverse impact on the profitability of MSPs, the Accenture survey results make it clear that customers need help beyond that. The Accenture survey also finds that customers preferring to deploy their own private cloud are in need of more help than those that rely on public or hybrid cloud services.

As cloud computing continues to evolve, enterprise IT will only become more complex. Organizations of all sizes are starting to transition to cloud-native applications built using technologies such as Docker containers, Kubernetes clusters, and serverless computing frameworks. Many organizations will find themselves managing multiple generations of legacy and modern applications running on cloud platforms from multiple providers. As the number of cloud platforms increase, the probability that an organization will need to rely on external expertise to manage them only increases, especially as many of them try to repatriate applications that might have initially been deployed on a public cloud but now need to be moved to an on-premises IT environment to reduce total costs.

Put it all together and the rise of cloud computing continues to bode well for MSPs. The process of building and deploying applications in the cloud may soon become more automated. However, from the perspective of the average customer, the issues only really begin when that application arrives at its cloud destination.

Photo:   winui / Shutterstock.

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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