Be Better Prepared for Your 2014 Cloud Experience

December 30th, 2013 by

Overall IT spending graph

As the Holiday Season is wrapping up and we get ready to head into 2014, I got to thinking about what is in store for us ahead. By us, I don’t just mean ScienceLogic; I mean all of us – the entire cloud market. After all, that’s where the future is headed, isn’t it? To a place where everything is stored and run inside the cloud? You may not have totally jumped on that bandwagon just yet, but you probably still agree that the cloud will soon be a critical aspect of the technology world.

With this in mind, I turned my attention to ScienceLogic’s 2014 Cloud Computing Predictions Survey results that were released earlier this month. As a former analyst (programmed to examine, evaluate, and expose facts), I have decided to share my findings with you.

A good starting point for predicting the unpredictable (as is the future of any market) involves looking at what the participants of the market plan to do. 50% of the industry said that they will be increasing their overall IT spending in 2014, while only 15% reported a decrease in IT spending; in other words, three times as many people will spend more on IT in 2014 than spend less. I would suggest that this increase represents the biggest spending increase across a company’s entire budget: a definite positive signal for our market.

Next I’d like to probe a little deeper, into the less comfortable and less examined zone of the individuals; the actual people out there who are making these decisions. When asked if they will personally make more or less money in 2014, almost 50% of people said that they expect to earn more. But just think about that question for a second. Do you actually know how much you’ll have earned 365 days from now? Do I know? I certainly don’t know. But it’s amazing, half of respondents were confident that they’ll be hitting higher numbers next year. There’s an amazing phenomenon that has been proven over the years: if you ask the industry a financially motivated question and the majority answer favorably, that event tends to happen. What’s more, if people believe they are going to earn more, they typically have a sense of better job security. More job security means that they can afford to take those higher risks that tend to have a higher reward. And the prediction becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This raises the question of compensation – are these people fairly rewarded for the work that they do? 42% of people believe that they are currently underpaid in their position – and nobody wants to stay in an underpaid job. Yet at the same time, 50% of people believe that they’ll earn more next year (i.e. will no longer be underpaid). Apparently people think that things are generally getting better, leading to the belief that next year will be better for them.

In contrast to that optimistic view, there’s still a quarter of the workforce that is more worried about their job security going into 2014 than they were a year ago. It appears that the market is split: people are either very confident, or very not confident. The question is, why? If half of the industry thinks that things are getting better money-wise, then why are these 25% worrying about their job security so much?

I’d hazard to guess that this fear is stemming from a questioning of abilities – less than half of people feel very well educated in the technologies required for them to do their job well, according to survey results. This means that over 50% of people making cloud computing decisions do not feel adequately prepared to do their job.

Does that seem a little (or perhaps a lot) worrisome to you? Perhaps not, if you are in the minority of technologically-savvy cloud decision makers. But for the rest of you, I’d be concerned. It’s the same self-fulfilling prophecy as the one I mentioned above – if you don’t feel prepared to succeed in your role, you’re probably not going to succeed.

So in 2014, everyone is increasing their budget by 20% and increasing spending on IT – yet the guy who is making those spending decisions does not even feel well-educated on the subject. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Playing it safe would mean shying away from these innovative technologies in favor of the tried-and-true (or is it outdated and obsolete?); but in doing so, you run the risk of becoming outdated yourself. Is there an opportunity to save yourself from the embarrassment of losing face (or worse) from the fallback of a poorly educated decision?

It’s a little unrealistic to expect a busy corporate executive to find the time for formal education in becoming a cloud expert, but there are shortcuts out there that remove the educational middleman. They come in the form of tools that will inadvertently provide one with the necessary confidence for proper decision-making. These tools collect and analyze data from all of the different aspects of infrastructure and spit out the results in a way that’s understandable even without an engineering or computer science degree. These easy-to-use managing platforms (like ScienceLogic) removes the confusion and help you wrap your ahead around a system you may not understand anything about. In other words, it takes you from inadequacy to empowered and ready for more innovative work.

Now when the next big technology arrives, you’re no longer jumping off of a cliff into the unknown – rather, you’re just jumping off a diving board into the pool. You may not be sure whether the water will be icy cold or a balmy 80 degrees, but you can rest easy knowing that you aren’t going to hit your head in a shallow rocky bottom. All it takes is a tool that does the educated part and spits out the information you need for the comfortable and confident part, that in turn makes operating in the cloud – or any new technology area – a more confidence inspiring experience.

So here is your final leaving point – you don’t have to be bold enough to jump off a cliff, but you should be staking out the area. The time will come when you need to be in that water, but it will be a much easier transition if you’ve already discovered a much lower diving board.

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