3 pitfalls that derail cloud computing projects

Many companies have begun cloud computing projects recently – some with more success than others. What sets successful cloud deployments apart? 

There are several things businesses do before, during and after a cloud computing project that will determine its impact on the business, says the IT Process Institute (ITPI) in a new report.

ITPI studied 143 organizations that have deployed cloud computing services recently to look at what separated “top performers” from others.

Top performers — 24% of the organizations studied — were those that had improved in several categories, including business outcomes, efficiency and governance, after moving to a cloud computing environment.

Among other factors, those companies succeeded because they were able to avoid these common pitfalls of cloud computing projects:

1. Lack of involvement from the business side

Top performers were much more likely than others to plan cloud computing projects with input from executives. In comparison, planning at low performing organizations took place more under the radar. Getting executive involvement helps ensure resources are made available and that the project is steered toward business outcomes.

One key to keep in mind when getting executives involved in planning for the Cloud: Make sure IT offers plenty of education that non-technical folks can understand. While executives understand that the Cloud can help their business, many of those outside IT are still confused about the basics of cloud computing.

2. Inexperience with cloud computing

Not surprisingly, most top performers had prior experience with deploying cloud computing services. Organizations without that experience might consider hiring IT pros with cloud computing skills or offering training to current employees. Many companies are apparently leaning toward hiring IT pros with cloud skills, as the number of listings advertising cloud computing jobs has increased by 72% over the past year, according to Dice.com.

However, the level of competition means that experience will be hard to come by for some companies. ITPI recommends business without cloud experience focus on testing deployments to identify problems before it’s too late.

3. Little focus on users’ needs

While cloud computing can have many benefits for IT departments and the business as a whole, successful cloud deployments work because the services meet the needs of users. After all, the company won’t be getting the most out of a deployment if the people actually using the service aren’t satisfied with it.

Top performing organizations in ITPI’s study had high levels of user involvement before, during and after their cloud computing projects. For example:

  • 76% had users who specifically requested a cloud service
  • 76% involved users in the planning stages, and
  • 71% offered training to help users adjust to the new cloud environment.

In addition, more than half of top performers let users provision cloud computing services, compared to 13% of other companies. Of course, IT must set policies governing cloud provisioning, but allowing users and department managers some level of control over their services is one way to ensure that cloud computing meets their needs as best as possible.

For more, see ITPI’s full cloud computing report.