Everyone’s moving to the cloud, right? With all the talk of cloud as “the next big thing” (and I believe it is), you might think so. But while there has been an uptick in cloud migration just in the past year or so, there are still plenty of enterprises sitting on the fence. What’s causing this cloud inertia?

As we progress into 2015, I think there are a few key barriers holding companies back from moving to the cloud in a big way.

Barrier #1: SLA Anxiety
SLAs are crucial to IT and business leaders alike. But meeting strict SLAs isn’t easy in today’s cloud environment. Take a look at the public and outsource private cloud providers and you’ll see their SLAs leave a lot to be desired (unless you believe that up to 10 minutes of downtime multiple times a day won’t impact your business). The fact is, managing uptime is a real challenge in the cloud due to its distributed, dynamic nature.

The good news: Stratus now has the next-generation, software-defined availability solutions that address this Achilles heel of the cloud head on. As enterprises discover that they can tackle the SLA barrier, expect to see accelerated movement to the cloud.

Barrier #2: The ROI Question
Funding an undertaking like building an enterprise-class cloud requires a solid business case with a clear return on investment. But many enterprises aren’t sure how to assess the ROI from a major cloud initiative. If you view it simply in traditional terms like “increasing efficiency” or “consolidation,” you’re missing the point. The real value proposition for cloud centers on its ability to dramatically improve agility by enabling transformative, new ways of doing business.

As enterprises recognize this important point (or when their competitors’ recognize it first) the potential payback of cloud investments will become much clearer.

Barrier #3 The Cloud Talent Gap
As with any maturing technology, cloud infrastructures require specialized skills and talent that many enterprise IT organizations don’t yet have. Creating the teams to fully leverage the business value of cloud technology means breaking down the silos that define many IT organizations. And that kind of change is never easy. Once IT leaders are convinced that the cloud really is “the next big thing,” you’ll see the talent transformation happen. But waiting too long to make the shift could prove to be a major misstep.

These are the main barriers creating inertia that’s holding some IT leaders back. This is why many cloud projects to date have been relatively limited and scaled back—an app or two, rather than large, mission-critical cloud applications.

However, not all IT leaders are sitting on the fence. A growing number of trailblazers are recognizing the competitive advantages of being early cloud adopters. In my next blog post, I’ll discuss who these trailblazers are—and the steps they’re taking to ensure success.