IT leaders, workers at odds over cloud maturity perception

Dive Brief:

  • Nearly half (47%) of IT decision-makers strongly agree that the COVID-19 pandemic “accelerated their cloud maturity,” according to a report from SPR. The study surveyed 400 IT leaders and 400 line-of-business IT workers.
  • When asked to rate the maturity of their current cloud strategy, 39% of IT decision-makers defined it as “very mature.” Just one-quarter of line-of-business IT workers share the same assessment, highlighting a disconnect in how cloud is perceived.
  • The most popular reason driving cloud acceleration is to enable remote work under a distributed model, according to 47% of respondents. Migrating on-prem workloads to the cloud is the top initiative decision-makers are focusing on.

Dive Insight:

The pressures of the pandemic put cloud at the center of the technology stack twice over. 

On one side of the house, the technology let workers operate seamlessly while distributed. On the consumer-facing front, it gave companies flexibility to respond to changes in consumer patterns: scaling up or powering down accordingly. 

Moving applications to the cloud helped businesses “respond to extraordinary demand, and then maybe a lapse in demand afterwards,” said George Lawrie, VP and principal analyst at Forrester.

In preparing for the year ahead, businesses put the onus on the CIO to lead cloud strategies and align it to the business outcomes sought by leadership at large, often with direct ownership of digital business metrics

By no means is the cloud’s role as a protagonist over — companies expect to continue relying on the cloud to uphold their business operations and act as a market differentiator. Part of the executive’s role will then involve healing the disconnect between how leadership envision cloud strategies playing out and how line-of-business IT workers see it.

Failure to fix the rift can mean sunken costs and dashed expectations for what the technology can deliver, and the role it can play in digital transformation.

To achieve true cloud maturity, IT teams must focus on best cloud practices and improving cloud security and governance, according to Kevin McMahon, executive director of cloud enablement at SPR .

“Decision-makers serious about true cloud resiliency must understand where they are in their cloud journey and continually work toward goals in tandem with what they are hearing on the front lines,” said McMahon in a release.

A rift between leadership and line of business IT workers is also present when considering how companies are performing in terms of their cloud security. One in three decision-makers say their company’s cloud security is “very mature,” while 23% of line-of-business say the same. 

Cloud security remains a challenge across the board. Many high-profile data breach stories in the past year involved a vulnerability in the cloud, and 96% of IT managers cite concerns about the state of their current cloud security, according to a Sophos survey published in June.

Aside from operational improvements, CIOs who are capable of raising the maturity of their cloud strategy can also benefit from increased talent attraction, as 36% of line-of-business IT workers say cloud maturity will play a key role in their next job search.