There is almost a universal desire among UK public sector organizations to shift from traditional IT environments to cloud solutions, according to the latest survey by UKCloud of more than 300 senior IT professionals and business leaders in the UK. 87.2% of those surveyed stated that they would do this if a ‘perfect cloud solution’ existed.
These results were reflected at all levels, across business and technical respondents – and 82% of respondents agreed that the senior leadership in their organization “understands and values progressive technology.”
Yet, the survey by UKCloud also found that more than three-quarters cited “lack of clear policy/strategy” as a factor impeding cloud adoption. The survey also revealed more focus is needed on the technical and non-technical challenges of modernizing existing technology not just building new cloud native applications.
There is a lot of focus on the technical challenges of adopting cloud, but one of the key revelations from the survey was the extent of concern of the commercial risks of cloud adoption.
78% of respondents expressed a fear of vendor lock-in and a similar number agreed that the risk of “over reliance on a sole provider” is inhibiting their cloud adoption. More than 85% of UK public sector organizations agreed that they would prefer multi-cloud, presumably as a means to mitigate these commercial risks.
These concerns about commercial risks of single provider solutions aren’t exclusive to the UK, as last year Angela Merkel spoke of Gaia-X to help the EU avoid becoming over-reliant on US-based cloud providers.
Security risks constrain wholesale adoption of public cloud
Another aspect of risk that came through the survey results is related to security and operational risks to live systems. 85.2% of those surveyed believe that their organization is reluctant to move workloads to the cloud due to risk and security concerns.
As recently reported by the National Cyber Security Centre, a significant number of cyber attacks are from hostile nation states and the survey results imply that many organizations are concerned that traditional applications are inherently not ready for these emerging threats.
Hence, there remains a significant minority that still will not consider public cloud for their most secure and sensitive systems and 40% also ruled out public cloud for systems that they need to run on-premises or in Crown Hosting. According to UKCloud’s analysis, this could imply that organizations feel constrained by the hyperscale model of public cloud – whereas a multi-cloud strategy would enable them to consider a variety of cloud offerings (including private cloud and secure cloud) that have been specifically designed for these more sensitive and critical environments.
Cloud-Native Skills, Capabilities
78.3% of survey respondents confirmed they lacked the skills and resources, such as DevOps and automation, to build and operate cloud-native applications in what Gartner refers to as bimodal capability.
According to UKCloud, multi-cloud would enable organizations to carry forward their existing skills in established technologies like VMware, Red Hat and Cisco which would remain relevant for longer. And secondly, multi-cloud enables organizations to consider buying specialist SaaS solutions rather than building their own cloud native applications – tapping into the skills and capabilities of “innovative” software companies.
Commercial Control and Flexibility
84.5% of the UK public sector survey respondents agree that cost/affordability is the biggest impediment to cloud adoption, with almost 80% agreeing that ‘fear of runaway costs’ is a notable hindrance. This would support the concept of ‘cloud repatriation’, where organizations bring unsuited workloads back from the public cloud and demand for tools like VMware CloudHealth which helps organizations better understand the costs they are incurring in the public cloud.
Moreover, 82.57% of those surveyed also cited the misalignment of CAPEX and OPEX budgets as an impediment of cloud adoption. Public cloud services by their nature are only suited to OPEX budgets, says UKCloud. Multi-cloud would expand these options so that customers can chose to mix dedicated environments with shared environments so that they can make best use of both their CAPEX and OPEX budgets.