With an increasing number of businesses in Australia having moved or considering moving workloads into the cloud, understanding the concerns, motivations and objectives of those doing it is important towards making sure cloud migrations deliver.
Following a study by our United Kingdom counterparts, Rackspace Australia conducted a similar study comprising 100 telephone interviews with senior decision makers regarding cloud migration.
Split into those who had already migrated workloads and those who planned to do so, the results, when compared with the UK, made for interesting reading. For the most part, the attitudes of Australian ‘planners’ and ‘migrators’ bore a resemblance, but with some noticeable differences worth highlighting.
Increasing resiliency and agility, stabilising existing platforms and reducing costs were cited as some of the driving motivators in both groups. Interestingly, a much larger percentage of migrator cited ‘mitigating shadow IT’ (41 per cent) as a motivation, compared to planners (24 per cent). The UK shared similar leading motivations to Australia, but shadow IT appeared to be even less of a driving force, sitting at just 9 per cent of the sample. This comparison is consistent with aggressive adoption of cloud in Australia, versus UK. It is no surprise that Australians have been more prone to circumnavigate internal IT departments in order to gain fast (yet not necessarily well architected or governed) access to cloud.
There were some noticeable differences across project leads of migrators and planners. While the IT operations department was the dominant owner in both groups in Australia, there was more board involvement among planners (17 per cent) than migrators (4 per cent).
Senior executive involvement in the UK was even more apparent, with 18 per cent of the board leading the project among planners. The most popular lead in the UK, however, was the CEO/business head (32 per cent). Despite more senior business leadership among cloud projects in the UK, there was less satisfaction in the country in terms of cloud projects hitting the required business goals — more on that later.
Application performance and availability are the biggest concerns among both the planner and migrator groups, but interestingly, business risk (such as outages and loss of revenue) ranked higher among planners (80 per cent) than migrators (65 per cent). It may be that migrators have realised that, with appropriate planning, architecture and testing, the risk of outages can be all but eliminated when migrating to the cloud.
What’s going into the cloud?
Mission critical back office applications ranked as the number one workload moving into the cloud across both Australia (with migrators and planners) and the UK. Double the number of Australian businesses (50 per cent), have placed or are looking to place analytics and business intelligence into the cloud, compared to the UK.
These findings were an interesting indication of the rapidly evolving state of cloud maturity. Twelve months ago, the main types of workloads being migrated to cloud were “test and dev” environments and web-facing applications. Today, a larger number of businesses now placing mission critical back office applications in the cloud is testament to the confidence and value businesses are now placing on cloud.
Other noticeable differences between Australia and the UK included the time it took to get projects completed and the overall success of migrations. Among Australian migrators, 37 per cent said that they project took less than three months to implement, with 80 per cent saying the migration met business goals. In the UK, just five per cent were completed in the three month time frame, while just 58 per cent said their business goals were met.
In terms of lessons learned when migrating to cloud, half of Australian migrators said they should have “allowed more time.” This, combined with the reported timeframes of cloud migrations, poses an interesting question around exactly how Australian and UK organisations are migrating to cloud. Typically, “lift and shift” migrations to cloud are completed more quickly, but may not unlock all the benefits of cloud. On the other end of the spectrum, fully “transforming” and migrating applications to cloud can unlock much higher levels of flexibility, cost savings and agility — but it takes longer.
What the study tells me is that we have high levels of confidence in Australia about the ability of cloud to make a real impact to business. Australian businesses have a solid start in the successful delivery of back office and operational systems; the bold among us are looking at delivering increased customer value through the cloud.
But the cloud is not necessarily for everything. For example, some “always on” and stable back office workloads may be better suited (from a cost and performance perspective) to single tenant environments. As companies become confident around moving workloads into the cloud, it becomes even more critical for a managed service provider to help determine the best type of environments for each workload.