Are Businesses Getting the Most Out of the Cloud?

There’s no doubt that cloud technology has changed the way organizations do business. However, a question remains as to whether those with complex multi-cloud infrastructures are actually getting the most out of their investment. Simply having cloud infrastructure in place is no longer a guarantee you’ll enjoy all of the tangible benefits the cloud can bring.

Given the cloud’s constantly evolving landscape, enterprises are faced with a dual challenge.

First, they need to manage an array of complex IT infrastructure, which may use multiple cloud services to ”keep the lights on” when it comes to daily operations. It’s estimated that organizations now run on an average of at least eight different cloud platforms, according to RightScale’s State of the Cloud report — each with different standards and demanding corresponding skill sets from the in-house IT department.

However, as global markets become increasingly competitive, the other challenge is a constant need to stay up-to-date with the very latest developments and innovations cloud technology can facilitate. Given the fact that platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform all produce a constant stream of new features and updates, it’s little wonder that it’s a nearly impossible task for organizations to stay on the cutting edge of the technology.

Given the dual nature of this challenge, there’s a clear opportunity cost when a business chooses to operate or innovate. If the main focus of in-house cloud experts is to merely manage their organization’s cloud infrastructure, the ability to continuously innovate processes and functions will inevitably become limited.

Successful cloud: a question of expertise?

Having the right expertise in place is essential if organizations are going to navigate their way to managing and operating a successful cloud infrastructure. An IT workforce with the right cloud experience and know-how can have truly transformative impacts, particularly when it comes to ensuring they remain relevant and are at the peak of their skillset in the long term.

Conversely, a company that has a misalignment of cloud skills, risks missing out on the simplicity, agility and tangible benefits this technology brings to an organization. An IT workforce that struggles to keep up with changes in the cloud will, over time, become obsolete as competitors in the market launch products and services into the market more quickly, reduce their costs and respond better to changing market conditions.

This problem isn’t going to go away either. With more companies now looking to create their own digital products and services, the effective use of cloud technology has moved from just being an operational concern to one which is of strategic importance. What’s more, as IT security becomes an increasing pressure on businesses and a host of new technologies emerge — including the likes of AI and blockchain — cloud expertise is going to become imperative for forward-looking organizations. In fact, it could be a matter of life or death in the long term.

What options are available for solving the cloud skills gap?

There are two main options open when it comes to the cloud expertise challenge.

First, the development of an in-house IT department might be one which larger organizations want to invest time and money into. Being able to address the specific needs of your business is certainly a big advantage with this approach — as is having experts who know exactly what will work and what won’t when it comes to cloud needs.

However, some organizations may also decide to use a managed cloud provider. The overriding advantage a third-party cloud specialist brings is that it can do the job of “keeping the lights on” for all aspects of a company’s cloud operations — security included. As a result, enterprises can free up the time of their internal IT workforce so they can use that time more effectively for innovation and efficiency driving projects — adding real value to the business.

What’s more, cloud service providers can draw on a team which has the most cutting-edge expertise when it comes to supporting organizations and helping them get the most out of the cloud services they use.

Are you sure your business is getting the most out of the cloud? Check out this video to find out more, and visit Rackspace to learn more about the ways we’re helping businesses succeed with the cloud.

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John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Two years later, when Rackspace decided to add new services for larger enterprise customers, John created and helped develop the Intensive Hosting business unit.

Most recently, John has played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace’s cloud-computing strategy and cloud products. John meets frequently with customers to hear about their needs and concerns, and to discuss Rackspace’s vision for the future of cloud computing. John currently serves as the company’s Chief Evangelist.

John is also an internationally recognized cloud computing expert and a sought-after speaker at technology conferences, including CA World, the Goldman Sachs Techtonics Conference and Cloud Expo. He speaks on the future of cloud computing, enterprise cloud adoption, data center efficiency, green data center best practices, and more.

Prior to joining Rackspace, John was a founder and General Manager at Internet Direct, one of the original Internet service providers in Texas.

John is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting.

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