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Enterprises are hopeful to achieve the many business, technical, and financial benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. However, the road to migrating and running these systems on cloud infrastructure can be rough for companies that fail to plan ahead. That’s the takeaway from a 2020 report published by enterprise technology consultancy Lemongrass, which in partnership with Upwave surveyed over 150 IT leaders with budgets of at least $1 million annually on the goals and obstacles in moving systems onto the cloud.

The global public cloud computing market is set to exceed $362 billion in 2022, according to Statista. (In 2018 alone, Amazon Web Services earned $26 billion in revenue for parent company Amazon.) IDG reports that the average cloud budget is up from $1.62 million in 2016 to a whopping $2.2 million today. But cloud adoption continues to present challenges for enterprises of any size. A separate Statista survey identified security, managing cloud spend, governance, and lack of resources and expertise as significant barriers to adoption.

A Lemongrass survey found that IT leaders were motivated to migrate systems by desires to secure data, maintain data access, save money, optimize storage resources, and accelerate digital transformation. IT management systems were the most likely legacy applications to move to the cloud, while security and ecommerce were the second-most and third-most likely, respectively.

But completing these migrations often isn’t easy — particularly as they’re primed to accelerate in a post-pandemic world.

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Security and compliance were listed by 59% of IT leaders as the top challenge facing enterprises when moving legacy systems to the cloud, while 43% of respondents said the migrations took too long. Thirty-eight percent said costs were too high and 33% said a lack of in-house skills was the top complicating factor.

Cloud migrations can cost between $100,000 and $250,000 and rarely come in under budget, IT leaders told Lemongrass. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said it was hard to find people with the proper skills and 40% said migrations took at least seven months to complete.

IT leaders said that the top lessons they learned while migrating systems to the cloud were:

  1. Dedicate sufficient financial resources
  2. Allow for sufficient time
  3. Ensure there’s the right people and skills in-house
  4. Ensure the outlined business goals are achieved

Successful migrations to the cloud can lead to a wealth of benefits, surveys show. For example, according to OpsRamp, the average savings from cloud migration come to around 15% on all IT spending. Small and medium businesses benefit the most, as they spend 36% less money on IT that way. Moreover, 59% of companies report an increase in productivity after migrating apps and service to the cloud, Microsoft says.

“The survey findings are very consistent with feedback we receive from our customers,” Lemongrass CTO Vince Lubsey said. “Enterprises … understand there are challenges but the benefits far outweigh the obstacles. The key to success is following best practices, proper training and time management. It also helps to have the guidance of an experienced partner to create the required cloud operating model.”

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