3 Myths about Public Cloud Computing

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There is a lot to say about the cloud these days. In SAP technology circles, phrases like “digital transformation” and “data migration” are tossed around regularly and are often used synonymously with the journey from on-premise systems to the cloud. While moving to the cloud may only be part of a company’s digital transformation, it is an important one. There is a difference between knowing what a digital transformation is and how to make it happen. To tackle the latter, you must properly understand the cloud environment and be able to discern fact from fiction. Let’s break so public cloud myths

Myth #1 – Journeys should begin on a private cloud.

From a list of nine possible concerns nonusers might have about the public cloud, respondents on average identified two to three top fears. Not surprisingly, the number one fear for public cloud nonusers is security, with a whopping 87 percent citing this as a concern. This uncertainty may be rooted in the belief that “public” equates to more access, and therefore more vulnerability. As a result, some may feel the safer play is to begin with the private cloud.

Yet what is happening within the market is the exact opposite. When we asked cloud users with various experience levels what type of cloud technology they are running for their business, those with less than a year of experience—who are just starting their cloud journey—are more likely to choose the public cloud over the private cloud. Forty percent of these new users are exclusively using the public cloud, while another 40 percent began by adopting a hybrid (both public and private cloud) approach.

Only 20 percent strictly chose a private cloud first. This appears to signal a shift in the industry. Confidence in the public cloud has increased, and a majority of new users are starting their cloud journey on these public platforms. Why would this be the case? The data shows that the workloads most likely to be added to the cloud initially are travel and expenses (T&E), human resources (HR)/payroll, and customer relationship management (CRM). This is consistent with the findings in ASUG’s 2017 cloud research. Our new research shows that these workloads are twice as likely to be loaded onto a public cloud than onto a private cloud. These workloads are based on the software as a service (SaaS) model, so they should require less internal support and cost less to deploy .

Myth #2 – Security is a big challenge for the public cloud.

Our research suggests that it is more perception than reality. Even though nearly all nonusers are worried about security, only 30 percent of actual public cloud users report security as a challenge they face. In fact, it ranks sixth out of eight possible challenges reported by respondents, placing it behind other factors such as integration support, cost, lack of migration support, unplanned downtime, and lack of training.
In fact, public cloud users actually see security improve. When asked about benefits they receive from their public cloud service, 29 percent report “greater data security.” While deploying data-sensitive applications like ERP can be a security challenge within the public cloud, with the proper resources and a keen understanding of the environment, cloud customers can turn security from a threat into an opportunity.

Myth #3 – Costs are prohibitive to adopting the public cloud.

While security can certainly be a public cloud benefit, public cloud users can also save money. While 87 percent of those not using the public cloud expect to spend $500,000 or less annually to run multiple workloads, nearly a third of ASUG members living on public cloud platforms are spending above this threshold.

Does this mean that cost is a bigger problem than anticipated? A deeper look at the data shows that this is not the case. Those spending more than $500k annually on cloud services are running an average of six major workloads on a public cloud. For comparison, customers spending $500k or less are running an average of three major workloads on a public cloud. The cost of public cloud services may instead be an accelerator, not a prohibitor, to cloud adoption. Public cloud costs could be so affordable that companies are seeing greater flexibility and can fit more workloads onto the public cloud while staying within their budget. Want more supporting data? Roughly a third of ASUG members (35 percent) who are public cloud customers responded that higher costs are a challenge for them. As a benefit? More than half (58 percent) state that they have benefitted from cost savings due to using the public cloud.

So how do these experiences align?

One hypothesis could be that low initial costs for public cloud adoption lead to more workloads being adopted early. Once companies (specifically company executives) see the positive results from their public cloud adoption, they are eager to add more workloads onto these platforms, which naturally increases the cost (leading to higher cost challenges for some). Still, these costs could be a fraction of what companies might pay (or are already paying) to run them on-premise or in a private cloud, leading some to recognize these as cost savings. Putting it all together, it appears that cost is not the barrier to public cloud use that some believe it to be.

What’s Your Next Move?

Maybe you’re just starting your cloud journey. Perhaps you have been reluctant to try the public cloud because you’ve heard from an industry peer about rising costs and didn’t get the full story. Or maybe you’ve been using the private cloud and have heard some worrisome things about the public cloud. Whatever your situation, we hope we’ve busted enough myths to assure you that public cloud technology is a safer and wiser investment than many SAP users realize. If you’re using the public cloud already, then you are likely already experiencing many of the benefits we’ve discussed in this blog and moving additional workloads to the public cloud at an accelerated pace.

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