Guest Post: Are You Overlooking These Success Factors for Cloud Adoption? Collaboration Challenges Between Networking and Cloud Teams can Create Significant Issues

A report by EMA and BlueCat highlights that 72% of enterprises struggle to realize the full benefits of their cloud initiatives – and details how to avoid this issue

By Jim Williams, VP Marketing at BlueCat

Cloud adoption continues to grow at an exponential rate, reinforcing why it’s even more important that companies get it right. However, many are not.

For organizations to successfully transition to the cloud, both its cloud and networking teams must work hand in hand. Specifically, success hinges on a company’s ability to align both teams at all levels (design, implementation, and operation). Which begs the question – are you aware of how well your teams collaborate?

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) recently conducted a survey of 212 networking and cloud professionals, including multi-billion-dollar institutions, to explore the state of collaboration between the networking and cloud teams, analyze why their partnership is critical to a cloud investment, and how to ensure dysfunction doesn’t impact your organization’s cloud initiatives. 

What happens when your Cloud and Networking teams aren’t aligned?

Data from the report reveals that 72% of enterprises struggle to realize the full value of their cloud initiatives, and much of that this is directly tied to organizations’ failures to integrate network infrastructure teams into the cloud journey.

It also reveals that collaboration challenges between networking and cloud teams have directly resulted in:

–        Security & compliance issues at 73% of surveyed organizations, which include downtime, compliance violation, and data theft

–        IT operations issues at 89% of surveyed organizations, which include application performance problems, significant downtime, in addition to failed service rollouts

–        Business-level issues at 82% of surveyed organizations, which include productivity loss, cost overruns and budget issues, as well as customer loyalty and satisfaction  

Shamus McGillicuddy, the lead analyst on this research and Vice President of Research at EMA, says, “Applications are migrating to the cloud every day, so there is no time to waste. Industry leaders must recognize that the networking team offers intrinsic value to a cloud adoption initiative, and they should necessarily be an equal partner in the journey. Getting things like DNS and IP addressing right at the beginning of a cloud initiative can save millions of dollars and years in project time.”

How to ensure strong collaboration between your teams

To prevent the above, EMA recommends enterprises take the four following steps to establish stronger partnerships between network and cloud teams:

1)     Make collaboration a C-level initiative

Only 34% of research participants believed that executive leadership is doing a very good job at pushing for better collaboration, whereas very successful enterprises were almost twice as likely to say so (58%). This underscores that an emphasis on alignment coming from the C-level leads to a higher probability of both teams working in sync. Leaving staff further down the hierarchy to stitch together a poorly designed hybrid environment is a recipe for failure.

2)     Give the network team an equal seat at the cloud table

For cloud adoption to run smoothly, the network team must have input and visibility into the design of hybrid networks. 88% of research respondents believe that the on-premises network team must have visibility and input into cloud design.  IT leaders must push for processes and procedures that allow both groups visibility across the hybrid cloud environment.

3)     Unify and modernize across domains

Many enterprises are unifying DNS management and security across on-premises and cloud networks. Nearly half also fully unify compliance management. By contrast, almost all unsuccessful cloud adopters report silos within IP space management. Siloed management of critical services like DNS and IP space management is almost certainly a bad strategy.

4)     Ensure each team is trained on all the necessary skills

IT execs need to close the skills gaps between their two teams. Cloud teams have a limited understanding of networking, and network teams are not up to date with the tools and solutions that cloud teams use. Skills gaps can be closed via training (for example, somebody should know the difference between DNS service capabilities offered by the major cloud providers) and by giving network and cloud teams access to technologies and tools used by their peers in the other silo. Shared access to tools and technology will give these teams hands-on experience that will help them acquire skills.

IT executives must accept that addressing dysfunction between cloud and networking teams should be high on their agenda, and that they should start by empowering network teams to become equal partners in the cloud journey. Too often, networking teams get involved too late, and this results in costly problems. Organizations with networking and cloud teams that are aligned get the most out of their cloud investment.

A detailed analysis of the research findings is available in the full report here.

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