How AWS can conquer enterprise IT's resistance to public clouds

The Folded-Arm Gang of IT naysayers can be helped along to adopting cloud computing with two basic steps

Amazon Web Services' Reinvent conference this week is sold out -- not surprising, given AWS's strong adoption by small and medium-sized businesses for infrastructure cloud services (IaaS) and its growth in platform services (PaaS).

But as successful as AWS has become, many Global 2000 enterprises still refuse to put their processes and data on the AWS public IaaS cloud. I call them the Folded-Arm Gang: IT staffers in larger companies who quickly point out that AWS, or any public cloud, is not ready for enterprise-cloud computing. The Folded-Arm Gang doesn't consider any public cloud to be reliable, secure, or safe.

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To date, only about 30 percent of AWS's business is with larger enterprises. That's the bad news. The good news is that the adoption by Global 2000 enterprises seems to be growing, as big IT moves from testing and deployment of very small workloads to mission-critical processing. Despite the resistance of the Folded-Arm Gang, tight budgets drive much of this movement, along with AWS's ability to prove itself over the last few years, despite a few well-publicized outages.

How can AWS move more big enterprises' processing into its cloud? Based on what I hear from my large enterprise clients, I have two suggestions:

1. Communicate better with IT management. AWS is great at communicating with developers. In fact, it's the best I've seen at doing so. But AWS doesn't communicate well with the enterprise IT leaders who make the big decisions. That IT leadership is the Folded-Arm Gang today, and AWS needs to get those arms unfolded.

2. Create and promote a process to access the true value of a public cloud, as well as a path to get there. For the most part, IT in smaller organizations has flocked to AWS because the technology is good. To get into larger accounts, AWS needs to provide a way to calculate the actual value of using this technology, given that budget factors weigh largely in big enterprise IT strategies.

AWS also needs to provide a clear process for building new systems on AWS and migrating data and applications to AWS. Because the Folded-Arm Gang is so focused on economics and objections, it's less likely to be proactive in finding ways to justify, much less adopt, the public cloud on its own.

Of course, the Cloud Computing blog is meant to advise cloud adopters, not cloud providers. But if cloud providers don't do their part to work with recalcitrant enterprises, the benefit of the cloud won't get the reach it should. If AWS -- or any cloud provider -- learns how to work better with enterprises, then enterprise IT will be more likely to implement vast improvements in its services to the business. That's the endgame -- or should be, even for the Folded-Arm Gang.

This article, "How AWS can conquer enterprise IT's resistance to public clouds," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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