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Survey: Cloud Services Shift May Not Be as Daunting as Companies Expect

The shift from legacy systems to cloud services not as difficult, time consuming or expensive as business leaders expect, a new survey suggests.

In a ServiceNow poll of 85 IT professionals, respondents who were further along in the cloud transition process described it as less daunting than those who had just begun.

Survey responses were divided into two groups: “first movers” who started the cloud shift early and were at least 25 percent through the transition, and “late movers” who had not yet reached 25 percent completion.

The two groups had different takes on three key points:

  • Time to complete: Thirty-nine percent of late movers said they expected the cloud transition to take four years, while only 17 percent of first movers thought it would take that long.
  • Difficulty: Twenty percent of late movers said they expect the shift to be extremely difficult, while only 9 percent of first movers said the same.
  • Cost: While 59 percent of late movers fear the shift will be “somewhat to extremely” expensive, only 20 percent of first movers agreed.

Though the sample size was small, the survey results suggest that companies with preconceived notions about the difficulty of the cloud transition may later discover their fears were worse than the reality.

Lessons from First Movers

The survey was conducted in February at Pink17, the 21st annual IT service management conference in Las Vegas.

ServiceNow’s report on the results, “Four Myths and One Truth on the Journey to Cloud First,” includes the following advice from first movers on how IT departments can make the process as painless as possible:

  • Take small steps: Break things down into small, consumable pieces. The cloud shift is a journey, not an overnight transition. Think about desired outcomes, and make them measurable.
  • Start with low-hanging fruit: Begin the transition with low-risk, high-impact moves. By creating success early, IT departments will gain credibility to move to the next phase.
  • Tackle inertia head on: Company mindset is the first thing that needs to change. The excuse “this isn’t how we do things around here” is not just unacceptable; it can be harmful to the business.
  • Create an environment of change: IT departments need to work with company stakeholders to champion the transition. Success in the cloud is not solely an IT department function.

First movers and late movers did agree on one thing in the survey: Inertia is the biggest barrier to cloud success. Fifty-nine percent of first movers said so, as did 57 percent of late movers.

“In today’s world, where disruption is the norm rather than the exception, doing things as they have always been done can drive IT to become a less relevant player in the enterprise’s digital agenda,” the report said.

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