Cloud Industry Forum calls for greater transparency of cloud services and contracts

Increased transparency and adoption of best practice in cloud service delivery is required if the cloud industry is to sustainably transition from the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ to the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’, the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) warns today.

Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle charts the perception of emerging and maturing technologies, taking in to account uptake, general acceptance and business benefit. In its latest report, the analyst house suggests that cloud computing has passed the so-called ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’, and is now heading into the next stage, the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’, characterised by public disillusionment.

Commenting on the report, Andy Burton, Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, said that although cloud adoption remains strong in the UK, the indiscriminate use of the term cloud and the FUD that ensues form that, coupled with a lack of clarity and confidence around best practice operationally and commercially for adopting cloud services is constraining the rate of market adoption.

“A degree of public scepticism surrounding cloud services is inevitable after such high expectations were set and therefore it’s natural that, as the market matures, there will be some rebalancing of that expectation and understanding. The initial hype that we have seen in recent years has somewhat subsided into more pragmatic approaches to testing and adopting services. The good news is that cloud services are now largely proven as offering viable IT deployment models regardless of organisational size, vertical or application area and as such will continue to improve in both capability and adoption and I have no doubt that wider mainstream adoption will follow.

“Our research shows that cloud uptake in the UK is increasing healthily,” Burton continued. “Some 62 percent of UK organisations are formally using some type of cloud service formally at this time which is up 11 points in the last nine months alone. This is projected to increase over the next 12 months, with one in four non-cloud users today expecting to make the move. Significantly, 95 percent of cloud users have expressed satisfaction with their cloud services, which we acknowledge is a slight reduction on results we saw 9 months ago, but by any measure is still a very healthy rating.”

Burton went on to suggest that cloud providers will need to demonstrate transparency around their business models and contracts to reassure potential customers about the transition to hosted and cloud services and that this was a primary driver why CIF established the Cloud Service Provider Code of Practice which provides self-certification against key information needed to make a vendor selection.

“A primary challenge that we constantly face is one of definition. The liberal application of the term ‘cloud’ only serves to dilute its meaning and confuse the market which in turn can inhibit the performance of legitimate and credible Cloud Service Providers. CIF has been campaigning for some time for the introduction of industry-wide standardised definitions of cloud services to provide end users with much needed clarity and to increase adoption of best practice among providers offering cloud services,” he concluded.

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