In mid-2022, a study showed that more than 90% of organizations use three cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Compute. The demand for cloud-based services ramped up in 2020 as working from home (WFH) moved from optional to mandatory, thanks to the pandemic. However, as the same study notes, a significant number of organizations are looking to smaller, trusted cloud providers that are potentially more affordable and, more to the point, agile.

So, Why are Businesses Dumping the Big Cloud?

To answer this question, especially as to why mid-sized enterprises are dumping the Big Cloud providers, we need to ask ourselves why they went there in the first place. 

Like all these things, there are short and long answers, and both are equally important.

Technical Issues

The short answer focuses on three technical items:

  1. Big Cloud offers greater transparency in terms of data insights and analytics.
  2. Speed of access to these insights for sharing, analysis, and collaboration.
  3. Additional functions or value adds, especially the flexibility to shrink and grow to suit the user’s needs.

The long answer, predicated on the shorter, revolves around another three key issues, some perception based. These are, in a nutshell: Safety, Savings, and the C-suite.

1. As the Cloud Evolved, so did Cybersecurity Issues

Around the same time that the first cloud services were introduced – 2006, 2007 – we saw the rise of cyber security issues and the sinister exploitation of code. This added a new layer of demands on the already burdened internal tech team. The tech’s job got harder: things went from yearly system updates to monthly and sometimes more frequent. On top of that, they constantly had to patch firewalls and deal with end-of-life hardware issues (I’ll talk about all that technical debt another time). With all this came greater costs and increasing time demands. The techs had to find a way to stay above water.

2. A More Cost-effective, 24/7 Option

Along with the need to focus on security came two additional requirements: an IT service that could scale – like for Airbnb – and one that would operate around the clock, every day of the year. If this could be outsourced, it would make the techs’ lives easier. The techs could get on with the business of supporting business growth. Also, if there was a crisis – and it’s always the night before Christmas – your team wouldn’t have to be called back from their holidays. Oh, and of course, with the Big Cloud, you only pay for what you use.

3. No CIO gets Fired for Buying CISCO

Back in the day, there was a saying: “no CIO gets fired for buying IBM”. Techs knew they’d be fired if they persuaded the C-suite to adopt a new technology which didn’t do the job. But then there were issues one and two: security and cost, especially security, to be considered. Company leadership, confronted by burgeoning public sentiment (you could call it successful marketing), started asking why “we’re” not in the cloud.

Then there is also the social pressure to adopt the latest technology fad (a tech fad is a technology that is created without meaningful intent) bolstered by ideas that capacity is fully elastic and always on/fully patched. Ultimately, techs bowed to pressure from the leadership and headed into the cloud.

Constant Evolution

Big Cloud customers were happy for some years. Cloud computing made life easier for a while, but like all IT, it constantly evolves. As more and more big enterprises bought into the cloud, bringing their big demands and big budgets with them, they drove its evolution. Changes were simply aggregated, layer upon layer upon layer. Consequently, users have to deal with ever-increasing complexity. After thinking they could “offload” hardware care, maintenance, and much more, the decision-makers suddenly faced in-house business and IT challenges.

For the Big Cloud developer, everyone has the same “problem”, be they manufacturers like canneries or entertainment services like Netflix. But in reality, their needs are as different as their products and services.

If Your Stuff Sneezes, the Cloud Couldn’t Care Less

The “outsourced” Big Cloud IT department, flexible to a degree, doesn’t have your in-house tech institutional knowledge. More to the point, if your stuff sneezes, the cloud couldn’t care less. The tech support overseeing your widget line no longer has a tech contact. Instead, he’s referred to a forum. Oh, and if he can’t get help there, he can speak to a bot. In the meantime, your business operations stall, and you lose money.

Remember the Cisco example I mentioned at the beginning? Over time, it became easier and simpler for the tech not to ask questions and for the executives to pay extraneous amounts of money to the big boys. The alternative was just too risky. It’s a case of better the devil you know, and for a while, this was the status quo.

Changing Needs

The ostrich approach is not working anymore. First, thanks to progress and the pandemic, your business’s needs have changed. Forums and bots don’t understand what it takes to run your business. Your internal tech needs a human who will listen and help him solve the problem.

To continue using the Big Cloud service, it’s the customer – you, your enterprise – that must make the adjustments.

Being in the Big Cloud becomes more work, not the other way around. You’ve therefore traded one problem for another – in a potentially recessionary environment.

Recessionary Threats

The pandemic changed the world’s focus, and enterprises strove to retain and build their talent with it. However, with the threat of a recession, everyone is under pressure to cut costs. You cannot fire your in-house techie again, especially now that there’s some semblance of normalcy in the company.

The C-suite looks at all expenses, especially the big one at the top that they’ve been paying for the last five years. It burns, especially now that they’re not getting a simpler, better, or faster service from the Big Cloud. Quite the opposite, and on top of the already exorbitant monthly cost, they have to buy additional security services.

In short, enterprises are dumping the Big Cloud because it’s costing them more and more for less.

The Alternative to Big Cloud

This is where alternative cloud providers like CenterGrid come in.

We focus on people and their businesses. We put the service first and the tech second. Our Service Desk means that your in-house tech, who understands the systems behind your widget line – and the nuances of your business – can deal with all your strategic technology projects. For those niggly level one issues, your staff call CenterGrid. Because of the way we work with you, as well as the way we structure our service level agreements, we have a thorough understanding of how you operate. Answering calls with your company name and solving problems based on knowledge about your environment are our responsibilities. We are simply an extension of your team.

Our objective is to enable you by building a cloud environment that meets your exact business needs. This includes guidance from the same smart people overseeing our own cloud environment, pragmatic ways to manage your security risk profile without additional cost, and SLAs that do not lock you in.

Do you need to know what moving out of the Big Cloud looks like for your business? Get in touch, and let’s simplify your cloud migration roadmap.

About the Author

Chris Beard is the Chief Operating Officer at CenterGrid.