Paul Gleeson, vice president, Cloud and Infrastructure Services, Unisys

Organisations that conducted a thorough return on investment (ROI) analysis before embarking on their cloud migrations were 44% more successful in realising their cost-savings expectations than those that did not, according to a new Unisys Corporation global survey.

Eighty percent of respondents to the survey – conducted among 400 IT and business executives across eight countries – said that they had expected cost savings from adopting the cloud as a channel for accessing IT and business resources. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said they conducted a formal ROI analysis before embarking on their cloud migrations. Eighty-two (82) percent of the respondents whose organisations conducted formal ROI analyses up front say that they realised the cost savings they expected. In contrast, 57% of those migrating without benefit of an ROI analysis said that they realised their cost savings expectations – a difference of 44% between the two groups.

Outside advice makes for success

The survey also demonstrates that engaging an expert third party to assist in cloud transformation boosts the likelihood of achieving desired objectives. Sixty-eight (68%) of the respondents said they contracted with a third party for cloud migration or management. Seventy-two (72%) of those used the partner for cloud strategy and planning, and 79% of that group said that partnering with an outside expert enabled their organisation to achieve expected cost savings.

“Our research clearly shows that in cloud transformation, the old adage is true: ‘Failing to plan is like planning to fail,’” said Paul Gleeson, vice president, Cloud and Infrastructure Services, Unisys. “Migration offers a plethora of cloud options – private, public, hybrid, community and other combinations. However, those choices can create unforeseen complexities that can easily derail expectations. Those organisations that plan their cloud migration carefully, drawing on the expertise of established partners where it makes the most strategic sense, are the ones best positioned to realise operational, financial and competitive success from cloud transformation.”

Workload Hosting Changes, Agreement on Benefits, Persistent Security Concerns

The respondents indicate that their organisations are rapidly migrating from traditional on-premises data centres to various types of clouds, and project how they expect the computing workload on each type of resource to evolve over the next two years. They indicate that use of traditional on-premises data centres will decrease from 43% now to 29% in 2019, while private cloud use will increase from 20% now up to 28% in two years. Over the same period, public cloud use will rise from 18% to 21%, hybrid cloud from 11% to 13%, and use of community cloud (a private cloud shared by multiple organisations with a common mission) will hold steady at 9%.

The respondents show widespread agreement on the benefits enterprises expect from the cloud. At least 94% cite improved disaster recovery and business continuity, agility and flexibility, more efficient storage, reduced capital costs and standardisation of IT as being at least somewhat important. Improving agility – the capability to deploy IT resources nimbly in response to quickly changing business conditions and the factor most closely aligned to gaining competitive advantage – is the top driver overall, with 78% of respondents saying it is critical or very important.

While the respondents clearly appreciate the tangible benefits of the cloud, they are also forthright in acknowledging its challenges. Many report encountering unexpected roadblocks, with 60% saying those impediments slowed their cloud migrations and 17% saying that the roadblocks brought their migrations to a standstill.

Forty-two (42%) percent of respondents name concerns about security (ranging from identity and access management to micro-segmentation of data) and compliance as both the most common causes and potential results of slowdowns in cloud migration. Perhaps not coincidentally, 42% of respondents to a 2016 Unisys survey cited security as their biggest challenge in cloud management.


by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor