New report shows cloud services are meeting or exceeding expectations of Irish businesses

Cloud services are meeting or exceeding the expectations of most Irish businesses, but more leadership alignment and subject matter expertise is required to amplify cloud adoption and maximise its potential, according to a new report ‘Looking to the Clouds’, published by Deloitte Ireland.

Research in the report shows that 54% of organisations are at the ‘scaling’ stage of cloud implementation, meaning they are deploying cloud services across multiple functions and business areas.

Furthermore, 81% of respondents feel cloud services met or exceeded expectations on improved quality of services as well as reduced costs (81%), improved business resilience (81%), improved scalability (78%), enabling them to enter a new market or disrupt competition (73%) and access to new capabilities (75%).

On the other hand, 78% of respondents say that executive support and lack of skills/resources to implement are the biggest barriers to cloud adoption in their organisations, closely followed by no clear vision or ambition for cloud (71%).

The report, which includes survey findings from over 100 CFOs, CIOs, CTOs and CDOs, shows that investment in cloud is being made, with 34% of their organisations’ technology budgets to be put towards cloud-related infrastructure or applications in the next 12 months.

Ruairi Allen, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte Ireland said; “Cloud adoption isn’t just a technology change for business, it’s an organisational and cultural shift that requires governance and leadership buy-in to deliver its true value.

“Although cloud adoption is on the rise, the true value it can deliver remains elusive for many, but the opportunities are widespread.

“For organisations already using cloud, now is the time to double down on those investments and build on the progress made to date by unlocking cloud’s ability to transform how value is delivered.”

Digitalisation is more sustainable in the cloud

The survey shows that understanding of the potential sustainability benefits of cloud hasn’t fully permeated Irish organisations.

Only 11% of respondents understand that migrating workloads to the cloud – which would remove the need to own, operate and maintain physical hardware on their premises – could help organisations’ sustainability agendas.

62% of respondents cite the lack of digital subject-matter expertise as the main obstacle to using digital technologies to become a more sustainable organisation.

This is followed by no clear vision/ambition for sustainability (42%); cost/resources to implement (29%); executive support/alignment (29%); lack of sustainability subject-matter expertise (25%); and insufficient data on possible sustainability impacts across the business (22%).

When asked how they are using cloud transformation to operate more sustainably, 60% of respondents say for smarter energy; 42% for resource savings (e.g. less travel, increased agile/remote working); 38% cloud data centres (ability to show cloud data centre is powered renewably or that he emissions are being offset); 23% moving existing IT architecture to the cloud; 20% cleaner energy use, and 11% have moved servers to the cloud to avoid maintaining physical hardware.

“Sustainability is one of the most pressing issues facing society and businesses today and it must be front and centre in making the business case for cloud. Cloud can play a key role in an organisation’s decarbonisation strategy and sustainable IT management is a relatively new and fast-evolving field.

“For businesses that have not yet adopted cloud, energy efficiency can be a compelling factor to make necessary changes to its cloud adoption plans.

“In reality, due to their scale, cloud providers can deliver IT more sustainably than most enterprises that operate their own data centres,” said Aoife Connaughton, Director Climate and Sustainability, Deloitte Ireland.

Cloud security by design; a reason to adopt

74% of respondents say that AI and cyber security are critical and strategic priorities for their business.

However, the survey unearthed two opposing perspectives on security: on the one hand, most respondents agreed their security expectations were met when using cloud services (78%).

On the other hand, 83% of respondents cited security and sovereignty concerns as the most significant barrier to implementing cloud services.

Other technologies and applications that businesses are focused on as strategic priorities include data analytics (72%), Internet of Things (69%) and robotic and intelligent automation (49%).

On the other hand, there are several technologies that companies felt are relevant, but not a strategic priority for the business right now including biometrics (15%), wearables (14%), augmented and virtual reality (14%) and commercial UAVs (drones) (14%).