Cisco, IDC Help Partners Apply Cloud Peer Pressure

Lorna GareyFabio Gori, director of worldwide cloud marketing at Cisco, says cloud is entering the second wave, but that only 1 percent of companies have what it classifies as an optimized strategy.

Courtesy Cisco, IDCThat’s based on an IDC sample of more than 19,000 companies and in-depth interviews with executives responsible for IT decisions at 3,643 companies with more than just a few cloud workloads. Some headlines:

  • Eighty-three percent want to work with incumbent providers to carry current operations to the cloud.
  • Sixty-four percent of all cloud adopters have hybrid strategies, with a surprising 48 percent saying their plans include portable workloads that can burst and load balance across public/private cloud resources. Gori says this is good news for customers — if market forces work as expected, a demand for portability will push big cloud players to keep services interoperable.
  • Fifty-three percent expect cloud to have a positive impact on revenue growth for their companies.

Some verticals are doing better than others: Thirty-three percent of manufacturers and 29 percent of financial firms surveyed are in the repeatable, managed or optimized categories. Just 22 percent of government/education and professional-services firms and 20 percent of retail/wholesale businesses can say the same.

The IDC study sketches out an adoption scale that rates strategies, from low to high efficiency:Courtesy Cisco, IDC

  • Ad hoc: Beginning the process to increase awareness of cloud technology options. Turning to cloud because of immediacy of need, often unauthorized. Thirty-two percent fall into the ad-hoc crowd.
  • Opportunistic: The 11 percent in this category are experimenting with short-term improvements in access to IT resources through cloud and are considering cloud for new solutions or isolated computing environments.
  • Repeatable: The second-largest category, with 16 percent, these customers are enabling more agile access to IT resources through standardization and implementation of best practices. They rely on self-service portals to access cloud services.
  • Managed: Implementing a consistent, enterprise-wide, best-practices approach to cloud. Orchestrating service delivery across an integrated set of resources. Eight percent fall into this bucket, with 91 percent having private clouds.
  • Optimized: These are the “1 percenters” — delivering innovative IT-enabled products and services from internal and external providers. They drive business innovation through transparent access to IT capabilities, based on value to business, and transparent cost measures. Most, 95 percent, have private clouds.

The remaining 32 percent have no strategies — which does not, of course, mean there are no cloud services in use.

Putting Data To Work

Gori told Channel Partners that Cisco is making this data …

… actionable for its partners.

“We asked IDC to make a cloud tool to help our customers,” Gori said. The goal was twofold: Help partners show customers where they are in terms of cloud adoption compared with peers, both by industry and by geography, and provide a set of recommendations to add cloud services in a way that will increase revenue and agility.

Courtesy Cisco, IDCGori says the Business Cloud Advisor, available today, can generate an organizational profile that benchmarks customers on the five-point IDC scale.

A BCA engagement can be a simple survey, where customers or their solutions providers go to the BCA website, answer 10 questions, and receive an at-a-glance assessment with a peer comparison and rundown of agility improvements possible with a more defined strategy. Or, qualified channel partners can add on a half-day workshop that will yield vendor-agnostic guidance from IDC and specific product recommendations as well as detail potential payoffs.

Already on board with the BCA are Long View, Presidio and Netelligent. Currently, Cisco is offering both the site assessment and workshop free of charge to qualified partners and customers.

“Say you’re moving from one stage to another,” said Gori. “How much will you gain?” IDC says even a modest jump from ad-hoc to opportunistic can yield a 43 percent improvement in meeting SLAs. The ultimate goal is joining that elite, optimized 1 percent.

“They want to control the cloud on their rules and not be controlled by the cloud,” says Gori. “The more cloud you use, the more your complexity and opex increase unless you have a means to tell the cloud what to do.”

Download the full report.

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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