Recently, on the 26th of September, I attended the AWS CloudDay in Zürich as part of the kreuzwerker booth crew. The event was packed with interesting talks and fun activities, including keynotes, a football kicking challenge, and various other partner sponsored events. As I expected, the whole day was pretty busy due to the many visitors coming to visit our stand, asking about our services and how we could help them solve their current challenges.
However, unlike many other conferences I took part in previously, most visitors were either students, engineers, or independent consultants. Very few decision makers and stakeholders, such as CEOs, CTOs, startup owners or even simple tech and team leads, seemed to be present. Talking with our visitors quickly revealed that most were in one of two situations:
- they knew about the cloud, but weren’t using it in their daily jobs
- they had heard about the cloud, but didn’t know much about it
Most wished they worked with cloud technologies, at least for part of their workload, but almost none currently did. Many were really suffering from the lack of flexibility (in terms of resources, scalability and technology) and from the other typical restrictions inherent to an on-premise installation. When I suggested that they might be able to influence their higher-ups to give the cloud a try, I often received a “no way that’s happening anytime soon” response, which was a much more intense and definitive reaction than I usually get in other circumstances.
When I asked why this was so unlikely to happen, I got similar answers:
- there were privacy and security concerns since they worked in domains with sensitive data, such as financing, banking or health care
- the data location had to be known and the access very strict
- the on-premise infrastructure has existed for years and is really reliable
- the simple idea of the cloud was enough to make their superiors very uncomfortable, just because it was “the cloud, this mysterious and unknown thing”
Those answers prompted me to look up some statistics about the current cloud usage by Swiss companies, and indeed there seems to be a strong “fear of the cloud” feeling still present today in many Swiss-based businesses. The figure below, which uses data from 2021, illustrates this situation. This fits with the picture I could draw from the conversations I had that day.
Source: IDC Whitepaper, July 2021, IDC European Infrastructure and Multicloud Survey
It’s crucial to understand that the cloud’s benefits often outweigh the perceived risks. For starters, cloud providers such as AWS invest significantly in the latest security and compliance requirements, ensuring that data remains safe and adherent to strict industry standards. This can make it even more secure than many on-premise solutions, where it is difficult to keep up with the ever-changing technological and security landscape. Moreover, the cloud offers geographic flexibility by allowing data to be stored in specific regions, catering to data residency requirements, especially now that AWS has deployed a region in Zürich.
Additionally, while on-premise infrastructures may have stood the test of time, the cloud introduces cost-efficiency, scalability, and flexibility, which can be invaluable for businesses aiming for growth and adapting to change. One can start small and scale resources up or down based on the needs, without incurring unnecessary expenses on unused capacities. Lastly, the “mysterious” nature of the cloud can be demystified through education and training. As more individuals and decision-makers become familiar with its potential, the cloud’s advantages become evident, rendering it not so hard to grasp after all.
The AWS CloudDay in Zurich is always a great event to attend. It provides opportunities for new leads, but also allows us to get a feel for the current state of the Swiss cloud landscape, which is currently relatively small (compared with other regions of the globe). It will take some work to make that mentality change, but that’s our job at kreuzwerker. We support a wide range of customers, from startups to SMEs, in all phases of their cloud transformation journey: from designing, building, migrating, modernizing and optimizing their cloud landscape.