We recently came across an article in an online publication which spoke about some of the concerns held by CIOs and other senior IT personnel about elements of the cloud. Three major concerns were identified – yet these concerns as far as we can see are founded on misinformation more than anything else.
Poor end user experience due to performance bottlenecks
In the worldwide survey, some 64% of respondents identified that poor user experience was their major concern. Specifically, they expressed concern that performance bottlenecks would cause instability issues and slow down the speeds being demanded by their end-clients.
To our way of thinking, this concern is based on historical experiences rather than a newer understanding of cloud infrastructure and how it truly works. Once upon a time, CIOs worked tirelessly to ensure that they could wrest the highest level of performance out of their system with minimal, if any bottlenecks. Failure to do so would lead to poor user experience. Thus, it was a matter of fine tuning their machinery and ensuring that uptime was at the highest level possible.
Today however, servers are powered by terabytes of memory and lightning-fast multi-core processors with multiple inbuilt redundancies. The chances of hardware related bottlenecks are minimal. Instead potential bottlenecks will arise from legacy software which is being used across the cloud and often across multiple operating environments. Some of these systems are being cajoled and forced into remaining compatible with each other, whilst also trying to improve what they offer.
chances of hardware related bottlenecks are minimal
This is not the fault of the cloud itself but rather, reflects that CIOs and IT departments need to work to remove legacy systems and implement cleaner code and smarter programs. In making the upgrade to newer systems which are coded with SDKs and APIs in mind, businesses will need to worry less about performance bottlenecks and more about how to utilize the data they have at hand.
The impact of poor performance on brand perception and customer loyalty
We understand this fundamental rule of business: Failure to keep your customers happy will affect your customer loyalty and ultimately your market share. As such, it is a concern of businesses that poor cloud performance (think poor uptime) will affect their business performance, which in turn will affect the way their clients view and interact with them.
Whilst statistics such as system uptime are good yardsticks, in the new operating environments they are but one measure. As stated above, the issue with many businesses is a failure to update legacy systems in line with their hardware and systems upgrades. They continue to try and keep pace with the market by building new customer interfaces, or to pull data from old data silos which can be used in their campaign automation, but what they are really doing is shoe-horning their systems to achieve something that could be better achieved through investment in newer systems which are more compatible with the hardware they are running on, and more suited to achieving their high end needs.
Not only will this investment work to improve their system performance, but in investing in this software and systems technology they will be better able to create customer solutions which work, which improve time spent on page (or similar) by clients and add value to them and their business. Ultimately, this will drive customer satisfaction and thereby more repeat business.
investing in this software and systems technology they will be better able to create customer solutions which work
Loss of revenue due to poor availability, performance, or troubleshooting cloud services
It almost seems – to us anyhow – that respondents in the survey realised that if they identified that performance was an issue, then there should be a corollary impact on revenue. Of course a business experiencing poor uptime, or broken systems will see an impact on their revenues – it’s the nature of business. However, further to the two points made above, we feel that there is a misperception which abounds in the market. Primarily, whilst it is easy to move infrastructure to the cloud, the investment into new systems and therefore new personnel capable of managing these systems seems to be more risky and therefore something businesses shy away from.
We would encourage businesses to stop and take stock. If you are looking to achieve solid growth, it will indeed come from investment into cloud systems – the financial advantages are well covered – but above and beyond this, revenue will be increased if an equal amount of time is invested into front end systems and personnel capable of fine-tuning the systems. Not only can staff work to optimise systems, but they can and are able to work with cloud providers to ensure faster resolution of any problems which may be encountered.
As you can tell, we do not agree with the concerns raised. However, that said, it was refreshing to see leaders in IT challenging the cloud industry, as it is only by being challenged that we will truly work to improve what we offer as an industry. Better still though, despite these three concerns being the most worrisome for those 486 CIOs interviewed, it is nice to simultaneously note that there is an overwhelming indication that investment into the cloud is set to continue its upward trend.