Unisys Report Reveals Why 1 in 3 Cloud Migrations Fail

The 2019 Unisys’ Cloud Success Barometer study finds that more than one-third of American businesses admit they fail to capture notable benefits from their cloud computing project.  IDN explores the reason and remedies for less than optimal cloud investments. 

Tags: cloud, integration, migration, multi-cloud, transformation, Unisys,

It is no surprise that nearly every major enterprise is migrating to the cloud. What may be news is that many are not getting the results they expected. 


The Cloud Success Barometer study, recently released by Unisys, examines cloud satisfaction scores from more than 1,000 senior IT and business execs. It revealed that more than one-third (37%) of American businesses admit they failed to capture notable benefits from their cloud computing project. 


One main reason for the lackluster results, the Unisys study suggests, is because companies were yet to integrate their cloud adoption plan as a "core" part of their broader business transformation strategy.


In detail, the study found that among those firms that did make cloud a "core" part of their transformation strategy, nearly eight in 10 (77%) reported "great" or "moderate improvements" from their cloud migration. In contrast, fewer than one in four (23%) firms admitted capturing the same reliable results from cloud adoption. 


The Unisys Cloud Success Barometer surveyed over 1000 senior business and IT leaders across 13 countries in August and September 2019. It surveyed attitudes on a different range of cloud performance and created a barometer based on their feedback.


The barometer score was calculated based on how well cloud expectations were met in six areas across the business, competitive and IT benefits measured.  These six focus areas included: revenues, costs, agility, competition, security and productivity.


On a scale of zero to 100, with 100 representing that expectations are being exceeded across each performance metric, the U.S. score of 49 is considered a "middling" level of cloud success, suggesting room for cloud growth and the need to better integrate cloud into existing IT infrastructure. 


The survey also found where cloud projects fell short. Organizations most frequently failed to meet expectations related to managing or reducing costs (30% said expectations were somewhat met/below expectations), improved staff productivity (29%) and increased revenue (30%). 

On the flip side, business leaders reported being most satisfied when it came to security (79% said their expectations were met or exceeded) and being agile to match demand (74% said their expectations were met or exceeded).


The Unisys Cloud Success Barometer also found:

  • An extremely high number (92%) of respondents who had migrated to the cloud to some degree agrees that multi-solution adoption is very necessary.
  • Twenty-six percent said their organization leveraged a multi-cloud architecture. 
  • Thirty-four percent of business leaders reported being “extremely” or “very” concerned about being left behind relative to competitors.
  • Some 68% said that if they didn't move to the cloud, they would be somewhat to extremely concerned about a competitor innovating first.
  • Nearly three in four (74%) said they would be concerned about being outperformed by a competitor.
  • Forty-four percent said they would be worried that they could even be forced to go out of business as a result of not innovating.

Speaking about the study outcome, Raj Raman, CTO of Cloud, Unisys said, "These results illustrate that cloud transformation is not just an IT issue, it's a business issue. The question is how to go about adoption. As this research shows, you need to integrate cloud into your overall business strategy, which includes assessing how it can help boost revenue, gain competitive advantage, improve productivity and manage costs. 


"Yet many businesses do not realize that reaping the benefits of cloud requires more than just a 'lift and shift and you're done' approach," he added. Cloud adopters need a proper framework right from the start of a project -- and from there, set a "continual cadence of innovation and updates over time," he added. 


In addition to making cloud a core part of an organization's business transformation strategy, the survey found a correlation between cloud migrations successes related to two key areas:


Integrating cloud into IT infrastructure: The extent to which an organization's IT environment resides in the cloud made a notable difference. In organizations where more than half of an IT environment has moved to the cloud, 76% of business leaders say organizational effectiveness has moderately or greatly improved.


Further, getting half-way moved to the cloud is a crossing-the-chasm moment for success, the study added. Firms with half their IT infrastructure in the cloud are 41% more likely to see increased organizational effectiveness than those who have less than half of their IT environment in the cloud.


Investment in cloud migration: Eight in 10 (80%) of those who plan to spend substantially more on cloud computing in 2020 (and who have already seen improvement) are 40% more likely to see improvement than firms who plan to keep cloud spending level in 2020 vs. 2019. 


Essential To The Future is Adoption of Multi-Cloud

Raman underscored another reason why cloud success is becoming more and more critical: Multi-cloud is coming, and those who embrace it will be the next winners.  


"Multi-cloud represents the future of cloud computing, and for obvious reasons. Organizations that adopt multi-cloud strategies can design applications to run across any public cloud platform, expanding their marketplace power," he noted.


"Additionally, a multi-cloud strategy helps organizations gain greater sovereignty over their data, spread their risk in case of downtime and increase the business's negotiating leverage – as well as offering cost savings by allowing businesses to shop rates for different service needs from multiple vendors,” Ramen said.


The Unisys Cloud Success Barometer report also identified several traits that successful cloud implementations share. Follow these steps, Ramen noted, and the likelihood of success with cloud projects increases.


Top recommendations from other successful cloud adopters include:

  • Do a thorough planning assessment that looks at apps and dependencies, anticipated ROI, staff training needs and security risks, and identify where outside expertise is needed; 
  • Establish move groups, secure automated landing zones and a continuous integration/continuous delivery framework leveraging microservices, containers and DevOps; and  
  • Establish a cloud management portal is critical to providing end-to-end visibility for better governance and performance

The Unisys Cloud Success Barometer report in available https://www.unisys.com/Style%20Library/Unisys/cloudbarometer/pdfs/Report_UnisysCloudSuccessBarometer.pdf