Cloud migration research shows complex set of influences on IT decision-makers

Migration of mission-critical IT infrastructure and business applications to the cloud is occurring at slower rates than that of other IT functions, according to new independent research from managed services provider Claranet. This highlights the ongoing complexity that many IT decision-makers are having with cloud adoption as they try to reach the right balance of multi-tenanted cloud, dedicated cloud and in-house solutions.

The research found that one in five organisations (22 per cent) will have migrated their IT infrastructure to a cloud service by the end of Q1 2014. The figures concerning other critical operations were similar: 26 per cent will have migrated the management of their IT operations, while IT asset management services (30 per cent) and accounting and finance applications (32 per cent) are set to remain predominantly in-house.

Our research has already shown that organisations have significant concerns about the security of their data should they adopt cloud services. This is a major factor in the differing rates of migration between business-critical operations and other applications. Many organisations are finding that hybrid solutions that combine dedicated and multi-tenanted cloud services with traditional IT hosting are the best fit for their needs, so addressing such concerns will be crucial,” said Michel Robert, Managing Director at Claranet.

By the end of Q1 2014, half of organisations (51 per cent) will have moved their email to the cloud, 59 per cent will have migrated advertising and online marketing services to the cloud, and 61 per cent will have migrated their e-commerce web apps, while web portals will be cloud-based at two thirds (67 per cent) of organisations.

Robert said that cloud service providers must do more to gain the trust of business decision-makers, and to build confidence in the use of cloud for hosting for IT infrastructure and applications.

“The fact that only 22 per cent of respondents will have moved their IT infrastructure over to a public or private cloud by this time next year is a sign that vendors need to do more to build trust. As cloud service providers, we need to recognise that moving infrastructure to the cloud is a complex process, and that we must reassure customers by demonstrating our capabilities to support migration and integration. We must also acknowledge that mixed private and public cloud services, or hybrid cloud, are essential to meeting diverse business needs.

“The business benefits of adopting cloud services – not only in terms of cost-savings, but also with respect to business efficiency, operational flexibility and staff productivity – are substantial and measurable. For IT decision-makers to have enough trust in cloud providers, those providers will have to get better at conveying the message that a properly designed and managed cloud migration can be effective and secure,” he said.

The report, part of Claranet’s ongoing research programme, is based on a survey of 250 senior IT decision-makers across a range of small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises and public sector organisations.

The survey – conducted by Vanson Bourne, an independent market research firm – also found that the security concerns arising from the complexity of migrating mission-critical services to the cloud is a major concern for businesses, with these being cited by 66 per cent of respondents.

These findings are supported by statistics published last year (June 2012) by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), an association promoting best practice for cloud service providers of which Claranet is a member. CIF found that complexity was the most common difficulty encountered by organisations migrating to the cloud (45 per cent), and that IT decision-makers wanted their providers to help make the migration process easier (35 per cent believing this) and quicker (38 per cent supporting this).

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