The Accenture report surveyed 800 business and IT leaders around the world to better understand that state of cloud adoption and the value it provides. The report found that 42% of organizations claim to have achieved their desired cloud outcomes, up from 37% in 2020. Overall, cloud commitments have surged, with 86% of organizations expanding their cloud efforts since 2020. The cloud ambitions of enterprises have also expanded beyond just cost savings, with 68% of organizations claiming their cloud journeys are still not complete.
In addition, the report found that stubborn barriers from past years remain, including security and compliance risks, which were cited by 41% of respondents.
"Some people have been surprised that 68% of the 800 companies we surveyed said their cloud journey is still not complete, but we were not surprised for a couple of reasons," Karthik Narain, global lead of Accenture Cloud First, told ITPro Today. "Although cloud adoption has surged in recent years and companies are making steady progress, their cloud ambitions have also grown."
Accenture Race to Cloud Report Identifies Trends to Drive Value
In recent years, there has been a shift in focus from simple cloud migrations to using the cloud as the new "operating system" of the enterprise, Narain said.
The cloud is much more than simply a form of computing — rather, he said, it allows businesses to run with greater speed and agility by standardizing operations on a common platform and enabling organizations to innovate and experiment faster. Over time, the cloud has evolved from a focus primarily on cost savings to accelerating business growth and resilience, according to Narain.
In terms of what defines a complete cloud journey, Narain said the conventional answer is to measure cloud adoption — usually, a percentage of workloads in the cloud. But that approach is a limited way to think about cloud maturity, he said.
"With respect to cloud completeness, a better question would be how well you can make all your computing venues and layers work together seamlessly to deliver value for the business," Narain said. "In addition, the cloud is as much a business transformation as it is a technology journey, so it ultimately needs to be measured in terms of business value."
The five key practices that the report identifies as being critical to maximize cloud value are:
- Pursuing business and industry advantage
- Unleashing new value from data and AI
- Reimagining the operating model and people
- Designing and orchestrating in the cloud continuum
- Mastering cloud economics
"If you look at the five key practices in the research that can help companies overcome barriers to cloud value, all of them involve some dimension of organizational or operational change or strategy alignment," Narain said. "It’s not just about technical mastery."
How to Overcome Challenges in the Race to Cloud
There are still a number of persistent and common fears that represent barriers to cloud adoption.
Along with security and compliance risks, 41% of respondents also cited complexity of business and operational change as the top barriers to cloud adoption. Narain said these problems persist because they are difficult ones to solve, but there are answers to these problems. In his view, it takes a lot of organizational fortitude and commitment at senior levels of leadership and across the company to overcome them.
Having a migration-only mindset is another barrier and one that hinders organizations from getting the full benefit of the cloud, Narain said.
Accenture's view on unlocking cloud value includes three foundational steps:
- Getting to the cloud
- Utilizing the power of the cloud and AI
- Operating on the cloud continuum
Narain explained that getting to the cloud means getting data and application workloads securely to their optimal cloud location, whether public, private, or at the edge. Utilizing the power of the cloud means redefining how businesses operate and creating value using cloud, data, and AI, and tapping into the platform economy. Operating on the cloud continuum means modernizing IT operations to enable the right experiences and business resilience, and embracing cloud-native ways of working.
"At every step, organizations need to consider talent — transforming people and skills in tandem with technology," he said.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.