BIZTECH: What is your sense of the overall state of cloud adoption by businesses?
LEONG: I think cloud adoption is very uneven among organizations. There are those that are very advanced at this point, and there are organizations that are still in that “tell me about cloud computing” mode, and they’re just trying to get some adoption going.
And while there are many organizations that have adopted at least a little bit of Software as a Service for many years, a very large number of businesses have never done anything, either on SaaS or Platform as a Service.
There are different levels of maturity, different levels of trust in the cloud and differing abilities to manage that developing portfolio. There are organizations that explore the cloud very effectively for competitive advantage, and there are organizations that still think of the cloud, mistakenly, as just another data center strategy.
From the standpoint of where the market is going, many software providers are moving to a SaaS-only delivery model, and that will push companies
that have been reluctant to use the public cloud into becoming more active adopters of SaaS.
BIZTECH: You mention “different levels of trust in the cloud.” What is the nature of the mistrust?
LEONG: In a lot of ways, it has to do with an organization’s culture: Can they trust what they don’t do themselves, what they don’t necessarily control? Do they believe other actors in the ecosystem to be generally good, or not? What people specifically distrust varies. Some don’t trust security; others, privacy; still others, availability. In certain cases, with small SaaS companies, you might have legitimate concerns about the quality of their code. Companies may have concerns about whether they are adequately protected against things like ransomware.
And certainly in the cloud space, not all cloud providers are created equal. The market leaders, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, are very different from the second tier of providers that are established but emerging. And those are in turn very different from startups, especially those that are very niche and may not be able to invest as effectively in operations, security and all the things customers want to see a provider do well to gain their trust.