Organisations are moving to the cloud in big numbers to drive competitive strategies and provide richer customer experiences, a shift from earlier adopters that looked to the cloud primarily for operation efficiencies, according to new research from Next Pathway.
The research says that as companies recognise the high stakes of a cloud migration and the inherent complexity of these initiatives, they are demanding more services and support from their cloud service and platform providers to successfully migrate business-critical data and workloads to the cloud, the study reveals.
Next Pathway polled nearly 1000 IT professionals and decision makers on their company's status in the cloud migration journey, challenges to the initiative, benefits to migrating and perceptions regarding individual cloud service and platform providers.
"Every company is now undertaking a move to the cloud," says Chetan Mathur, CEO of Next Pathway.
"Our research reinforces that the motivation extends beyond gaining operational efficiencies; the cloud is seen as a strategic imperative to remain competitive and as an enabler for personalised experiences with customers," he says.
"The pandemic has both accelerated the move to the cloud and underscored this urgent need."
The study found that the top-5 main concerns for all companies moving to the cloud are:
Workload and Data Migration
54.1% of companies are afraid of moving all workloads to the cloud without determining what needs to be moved vs. what needs to be retired
Selecting the right cloud platform
24.9% of companies are unsure about which cloud platform to select
Managing End-User Expectations
47.7% of companies cited a lack of automated tooling that would expedite the translation and migration of code from on-prem to cloud
41% of companies cited a lack of experienced internal skill set to plan and execute the migration
30.2% of companies cited a lack of automated tooling that would expedite the translation and migration of ETLs from on-prem to cloud
Migration to the Cloud Is In Full Force
Close to a third (31%) of companies have migrated workloads to the cloud – almost twice as many companies since Next Pathway's last survey six months ago. More than a third (36%) are migrating to the cloud to prevent customers from leaving for more personalised solutions offered by competitors that are using the cloud to enable a superior digital experience. As companies look to become cloud-first organisations, they want to accelerate the transformational business benefits enabled by the cloud, not just the operational efficiencies.
Organisations Recognise That They Need Help to Move To The Cloud
While companies recognise the need to migrate to the cloud, most acknowledge that they do not have the internal staff, tooling and experience to plan and execute a successful cloud migration. Over 40% note concerns that they don't have the internal skills to plan or execute workload or data migration or to select the right cloud platform. A majority (54%) fear that when moving workloads to the cloud, they won't know which ones are necessary and which ones can be retired.
Along with the lack of internal tools, companies are concerned that they won't have the right automated tooling – either to expedite translation and migration of code from on-prem to cloud (48%) or to expedite translation and migration of ETLs to the cloud (30%). More than a third (38%) fear they won't be able to manage end-user expectations (38%). Testing is also considered a major pitfall, with 29% acknowledging this part of the migration journey poses significant challenges.
Companies do understand that planning and process automation are key to a successful migration. Asked what they would do differently if they were to do their migration over again, 40.2% wished they had spent more time planning workload migration and 39.7% wished they had used more automation to migrate workloads faster.
"At Next Pathway, we understand the inherent complexities and challenges that companies face when migrating workloads to the cloud, which is why we have developed products to solve these challenges," says Mathur.
"Our technology specifically addresses common concerns in the areas of migration planning (which workloads to migrate, which to retire and the order in which to migrate), in workload translation, ETL repointing and enhanced data testing. Our goal is to make it as efficient and seamless a process as possible for our customers."
Companies Expect More From Their Cloud Providers
To realise the full potential of the cloud, companies are seeking more value from their cloud platform and cloud service providers.
From cloud platform providers, companies want:
- Multi-cloud strategies and consulting services (47%)
- Migration services to move applications (code and data) to the cloud (47%)
- Increased storage capacity (43%)
- Robust partner ecosystems to supplement their internal expertise (42%)
- Industry specific solution(s) that includes data services (41%)
From cloud service providers, companies want:
- Modernisation of applications prior to migration to the cloud (55%)
- Services to crawl applications prior to migration to identify lineage and interdependencies across applications (50%)
- Application migration services (49%)
- Testing of migrated applications (47%)
- A Multi-Cloud Approach Is Required
- Companies overwhelmingly (98%) prefer a hybrid cloud strategy and agree that the trend is toward more collaborative support between different cloud providers to offer a robust multi-cloud offering.
Despite most companies favouring leading cloud data warehouses/data lakes such as Microsoft Azure Synapse, Amazon Redshift and IBM Cloud, new entrants such as Snowflake and Databricks are being considered. In fact, companies are performing proof-of-concepts (POCs) with Snowflake, Databricks and Oracle Cloud.
"As companies move to the cloud, they realize that these initiatives are as complex as they are critically important to the business," says Mathur.
"Hence, companies are demanding more assistance at every stage of the migration, from planning through to cut over. They are requiring more services and tooling from cloud providers and partners," he says.
"Moreover, they are hedging their bets, as they prefer a hybrid strategy and are performing POCs with a number of newcomers, such as Snowflake and Databricks."