The Unisys research report, titled "From Barriers to Breakthroughs: Unlocking Growth Opportunities with Cloud-Enabled Innovation," was released on June 27, examining the responses from 2,264 survey participants from around the world. While organizations remain committed to cloud spend, there are key challenges they need to overcome, including optimizing cloud operations to help effectively improve business outcomes.
Here are the key highlights of the report:
- Cloud spending is largely immune to economic woes. Over the next two years, a majority of companies (85%) will increase their cloud spend or have plans to do so.
- Leaders sound the alarm on talent gaps. Forty-two percent of IT leaders expressed concerns about upskilling their staff with new skills and technologies for cloud adoption.
- Businesses look for responsible AI. Fifty-five percent of companies acknowledge that they still have much to learn about the ethical implications of AI.
- Cybersecurity is a top concern. Breaches are an unavoidable reality, with 78% of companies believing they will likely experience a breach.
The Challenge of Unlocking Value from the Cloud
The Unisys report found that while 85% of enterprises invest in cloud technologies, only 19% have embraced and effectively use them to improve their business.
Ravindra Babu Alla, vice president of Global Services for Applications, Cloud, Applications & Infrastructure Solutions (CA&I) at Unisys, told ITPro Today that there are few pathways to success in the cloud.
To succeed, it's crucial to define a compelling cloud business case and ensure that clear key performance indicators (KPIs) are in place to measure success, Alla said. In his view, the 19% to 85% gap exists because too many organizations don't take the time to purposefully plan their digital transformation. Successful enterprises not only embrace these key patterns but also continuously evolve through different stages of maturity, he added.
Enterprises today encounter significant challenges at various levels, depending on their stage in the cloud journey. Unisys' research indicates that organizations that have progressed further in cloud adoption often face strategic challenges, whereas those in the early stages primarily deal with resource allocation, interoperability, regulatory compliance, and skill development.
How to Unlock Growth Opportunities with Cloud-Enabled Innovation
Alla said enterprises have various levers available to facilitate their digital transformation across people, processes, and technology, enabling them to move toward the future.
Enterprises need to involve cross-functional stakeholders to continuously adjust the various levers, guided by a transformation process. He added that initiatives should prioritize business value, be driven by minimum viable products (MVPs), and aim for efficiency, all while aligning with a common strategy and vision.
The Unisys research report guides enterprises on winning digital transformation themes:
- Prioritize cloud maturity to establish a solid foundation for Innovation.
- Infuse AI into your business DNA to increase workforce productivity and innovation.
- Align IT and the C-suite with a shared set of strategic priorities and principles.
- Build a forward-looking talent strategy to position yourself for breakthroughs.
- Evolve to a more resilient cybersecurity model to face escalating threats.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
2023 is a challenging year. In movie parlance, this year it feels like "Everything Everywhere All at Once" (which won the 2023 Academy Award for Best Picture), Alla said.
It is a year where enterprises are encountering a multitude of challenges and opportunities simultaneously.
"While we cannot predict the future with certainty, by examining trends in security, economic conditions, and the impact of AI, we can anticipate a few changes that may be included in the report next year," he said.
Here are a few of the top changes that Unisys anticipates it will tackle in its report next year are:
- Self-service platforms: How will artificial intelligence, quantum computing, hyper automation and improved data insights accelerate solution development? Digital workers are increasingly skilled and agile and able to tackle the talent shortage and revolutionize the way we work.
- Cloud adoption: What are the successes of full public cloud adoption and the "failures" where the full value of the cloud was not realized? The report will also look at "multicloud" implementations and strategies to better understand when and how to correctly embrace public versus private versus hybrid cloud implementations.
- Security: As digital transformations increase in volume and velocity, and especially as AI begins to play a larger role in solutions, how will focus and prioritization of cybersecurity issues and solutions change?
- Time to value: How can industry-specific clouds simplify the digital transformation process, streamline the various cloud technologies, and reduce time to value? These "Right Fit" solutions are gaining traction in delivering digital value at a rapid pace.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.