Survey: Enterprises Need Help Transitioning from Legacy IT to Cloud

While cloud adoption is on the rise, enterprise leaders are struggling with legacy IT systems that too often hinder the business imperative to move to the cloud.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a recent survey of enterprise IT decision makers by Datapipe Europe, a Rackspace company. The survey, which gathered insights from 200 UK-based IT decision makers from companies of more than 500 employees, sought to get at the challenges still facing organisations seeking to make the move into the cloud.

Because move they must. As most companies are coming to understand, the world of business is increasingly technological. Competitive IT systems make the difference between winning or losing customers, maintaining profitability in the supply chain and evolving new business ideas into profit-making services or products.

In a business landscape requiring scalable IT — dominated by Internet of Things devices and big data, and under the pressure from physical storage demands — the cloud increasingly forms the backbone to these systems.

Unsurprisingly, the cloud market is booming as a result: according to IHS Markit, the cloud services market is set to near $350 billion by 2021, while Gartner expects the worldwide public cloud services market to grow 18 percent in 2018. This demand is already reflected in profits: Alibaba Group just recorded cloud revenues of $342.1 million for its most recent quarter, up 99 percent year on year, while cloud giant AWS is having an equally rosy year, having grown its business 42 percent in the third quarter of 2017 and reported revenue of $4.58 billion.

Digging deeper

While it’s great that businesses are taking advantage of the cloud, information about record profits and the rise in cloud adoption only tell us so much. To really understand cloud adoption, it’s important to dig deeper. What motivations do businesses have for moving to the cloud? What plans do businesses have for the future when it comes to the cloud? How are businesses coping with their legacy environments if these are still in place, and how does this older infrastructure impact migration to the cloud?

That’s why Datapipe Europe undertook its research on the future of cloud adoption for enterprises in the UK, asking respondents about IT platforms, application workloads and cloud hosting migration.

A competitive edge

Our results showed that, for the most part, cloud adoption has been driven by the need to remain competitive: fully 95 percent of those interviewed said that they were planning to move more of their workload to the cloud by 2020, while 89 percent cited business enablement as the primary business driver. Security is also a factor: for more than three-quarters of enterprises, security ranked as the most important reason as to why they manage their public cloud environment through a managed service provider.

However, many IT enterprise leaders also felt weighed down by their “legacy” (that is to say, old or outdated) infrastructures. Those surveyed found that almost half of all workloads are still legacy, while 71 percent said these legacy workloads were preventing them from transforming their IT environment — and almost three-quarters are considered mission critical.

What’s the takeaway? Many enterprise leaders are struggling. On the one hand, they’re evidently keen to migrate to the cloud, allowing their organisations to become more agile and innovative, and to align costs to actual usage. On the other hand, they’re struggling to cope with legacy infrastructure, which is hindering business innovation.

The fact that this legacy infrastructure is, more often than not, mission critical complicates things further: unplanned disruption to such workloads can have wide business repercussions, and the utmost care must be taken when undertaking a digital transformation involving such systems, where individual workloads may be consolidated through a migration to a private and/or public cloud hosting environment. In these circumstances, having the right managed service provider can help an enterprise eliminate downtime and make the transition to a cloud-based infrastructure as smooth as possible.

In fact, our research found that almost half of large enterprises or organisations with more than 1,000 employees already have a managed service provider in place to manage its public cloud environments. As large enterprises usually lack the agility of smaller businesses, changes to infrastructure are time-consuming and disruptive; the managed service provider relieves this burden, meaning a large enterprise IT team doesn’t have to be tied up migrating workloads and managing cloud environments during, or in the wake of, a transition.

Looking towards the future

Enterprises are beginning to recognise the importance of being a cloud-driven business. However, backgrounded by legacy infrastructure, for many organisations, this transition may not be smooth sailing – especially if they navigate the transition alone.

Given the substantial costs of maintaining legacy infrastructure, as well as the risks that come with legacy IT potentially leading to damaged reputations, lower productivity and profitability, and a lack of innovation and competitiveness — all organisations should be taking a considered look at what they can do differently.

To learn more about Rackspace and cloud migration, please visit: www.rackspace.com/professional-services

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Tony serves as Regional Marketing Director for Rackspace in the EMEA region, after holding a similar position at Datapipe, which he joined in 2015. An experienced IT and telecoms executive with a successful career in marketing, product management and sales, Tony has held senior positions for companies including Verizon, BT and Cable & Wireless. He has extensive knowledge of cloud, network, security and advanced communication products, technologies and managed services, and has worked in both direct and indirect channels to market. He also writes regularly about the ever-evolving cloud industry, and was named a top cloud computing blogger in 2017. Tony is a sports fanatic and for his sins, a passionate supporter of his hometown club, Everton FC. He lives in Sevenoaks, just outside London, with his wife and occasionally his son (when he’s not hard at work at University).

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