Survey finds less than half of European IT departments ready for the cloud

IDC report highlights skills gap

Cloud

Cloud computing projects are proving tricky to pull off for European IT departments, with less than half (44%) able to find quality staff to support them effectively, according to a survey by market watcher IDC.

IDC's CloudTrack Survey interviewed both IT and non-IT staff at director level or above in 1,109 organisations worldwide. Of these, 304 were in Europe, with 100 in the UK and 102 in both France and Germany).

It uncovered two further stumbling blocks organisations are encountering during the transition to the cloud. Of those surveyed, 61% are struggling to upskill their employees to effectively evaluate, negotiate contacts with, and manage relationships with cloud service providers. Additionally, almost three quarters (70%) have yet to learn how to make effective use of automation, self-service, and orchestration tools.

Significant improvements

According to IDC, cloud departments still need to make "significant improvements" before they can can make the full transformation into internal cloud service providers - particularly when it comes to identifying a return on investment, which many are struggling with.

Just one third of European organisations are able to build a comprehensive business case for their cloud projects, the survey found, making it difficult to demonstrate the ultimate success of cloud projects.

Moreover, 59% of survey respondents indicated that they are not able to take cloud projects beyond the level of IT infrastructure projects, demonstrating a lack of ability to use cloud to drive business innovation and competitive advantage.

Despite European organisations' struggles, there was one positive finding, with almost half of survey respondents indicating a shift in mindset toward focusing on business priorities by embracing IT-as-a-service to negotiate service levels and serve customers like a service provider.

Carla Arend, program director of IDC's Cloud Practice, said: "The use of cloud computing as an increasingly business-critical technology is quickly changing how companies and institutions evaluate, procure, and deploy IT assets.

"However, the effective use of automation, self-service, and orchestration tools remains the biggest challenge for IT organizations, while accurately defining costs and implementing chargeback models is a struggle in the business and IT relationship. The transition to cloud computing requires change throughout the organization — in people, process, and technology."

Giorgio Nebuloni, research manager, IDC's Cloud Practice, said: "Spending on cloud services and building blocks for cloud environments has seen strong 25% growth in Europe over the past 12 months, but the push from service providers might start running out of steam in the coming years if IT buyers and line-of-business owners are not assessed in their cloud maturity level and then helped to systematically tackle hurdles to adoption."

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