As the ongoing pandemic continues to drive demand for digital capabilities among consumers are enterprises alike, moving to the cloud is critical to keep pace. But how far are IT enterprises on this journey?
To better understand how the move to the cloud has changed due to COVID-19, Amdocs conducted a worldwide survey of 1,000 senior IT professionals in the U.S, UK and India. It found that many enterprises are expanding and expediting cloud spending even among the uncertainty and economic turmoil. However, barriers remain, and enterprises must address them swiftly.
Here are some of the key findings.
Rapid cloud moves are being made, with India leading the way
The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation and cloud migration journey for many companies in the US, UK and India. With the promise of flexibility and scalability, almost two-thirds of US and UK IT leaders have either extended or expedited their cloud adoption plans to enable a remote workforce, as well as to secure and maximize the value of their data. Notably, India is embracing the cloud at a higher pace, with 78 percent of respondents making rapid moves.
As the shift to the cloud continues, an era of coexistence between traditional and emerging networks will face increasing operational business challenges. Creating a transparent hybrid approach (on-premise, cloud and multi-cloud) will ensure businesses can tie together current applications with the latest technologies and network updates.
More than 60% of IT leaders see security as a significant challenge
Cloud technology's potential is no longer a question, but many companies still face implementation and optimization challenges. More than 60 percent of the IT leaders from all three regions stated that security was one of their biggest cloud-based challenges. When asked about other barriers, reported difficulties included compliance and a lack of skilled professionals. Among US respondents, complexity and configuration were also top issues.
In the past, security and compliance concerns were powerful barriers to adoption. Today, IT organizations no longer see these issues in absolute terms, but rather as “challenges to tackle”. Yet complexity and configuration continue to be problems associated with moving to the cloud and should be looked at closely before a journey has started to create the right approach based on business needs.
IT leaders understand the value of data in the cloud
Without real-time and actionable data, an enterprise will quickly flounder in today's data-driven world. While most companies understood this before the pandemic, there was complacency in ensuring data was accessible globally via the cloud. A marked change in attitude was observed among US IT leaders, who indicated that the pandemic created an increasingly urgent need for data management and integration of resources for remote actions.
More than 60% of the IT leaders we surveyed from all three regions stated that security was one of their biggest cloud-based challenges. Meanwhile, nearly half of U.S. IT leaders said data integration and data management are some of the biggest challenges (45% and 48% respectively) when running systems and monitoring workloads in the cloud To break down those barriers, US companies are leading the way with an increased focus recruiting for data-intensive talent on one hand, while reskilling employees on cloud-based data and analytics/data science on the other.
An important aspect here is realizing how cloud’s processing power makes it easier for enterprises to run sophisticated analytics and AI on their data. This can bring to light new business models, technology approaches and prioritization as needed. Which makes getting comprehensive, actionable data through the cloud a vital business opportunity moving forward in post-pandemic world.
Reskilling is critical, but so is a new workforce culture
To ensure enterprises can keep pace with their competitors, now is the time to take a close look at the opportunities, challenges and gaps across the workforce. In the absence of a cloud adoption strategy, companies risk falling behind to the point that their ability to retain talent becomes a roadblock for the organization's growth.
Looking at how enterprises are training their workforces to reduce potential skill gaps and ensure successful cloud adoption, half of US respondents are focused on cloud security, with cloud-based data and analytics (47 percent) and cloud infrastructure tools and platforms (Kubernetes, Docker, ECS, etc.) also top priorities for training. The UK had the same top three priorities, while for IT professionals in India, a much higher 69 percent of IT leaders were focused on training employees on cloud-based data and analytics skills.
Meanwhile, nurturing a continuous self-learning culture to keep pace with technology's proliferation is critical. I believe this must occur at a grassroots level, with companies needing to leverage and mobilize a robust framework of middle-level leadership like unit heads, directors, senior managers and managers. A suggested approach is to encourage these stakeholders to divide time into "doing" (digital learning, rotational assignments, innovation labs, etc.) and "thinking" (self-reflection and allocating time to explore disruptive business models).
Overall, the survey data shows that most enterprises are fully committed to cloud adoption and have reprioritized budgets and training to expedite that process. The research also indicates the maturity of cloud adoption to navigate the vast array of global challenges due to the pandemic. Those who implement the cloud quickly and effectively will be the big winners during and after this disruptive period.
*Source: October 2020 Dynata survey, sponsored by Amdocs, of 1,000 IT professionals in the US (500), UK (250) and India (250)