Five ways to prevent your cloud transformation from stalling

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While 54% of executives in EMEA have made great progress in adopting cloud in many parts of their business, digging deeper reveals a concerning trend. Many cloud transformations appear to be hitting a wall, with implementations stalling or stagnating after they’ve begun.

These slowdowns go beyond the usual challenges of a multi-year transformation. And it’s coming with a high price. Only 16% of organisations in our survey are ‘all-in’ on cloud (successfully scaled throughout their business). This doesn’t only delay the business benefits of cloud - slowdown can also result in wasted money due to data consumption agreements.

Fortunately, it’s possible to get your cloud transformation back on track. Here are five strategic adjustments you can make:

1. Interlock technology with business outcomes and foster collaboration for a more complete scope of benefits

Around a third of organisations are only using cloud for IT improvement and rewriting existing applications, with one in ten using it purely for migration of existing applications and workloads.

Shifting IT to the cloud can reduce infrastructure costs by 25%. But a 2022 IDC Business Value report for AWS estimates that this represents only 4% of the total possible benefits.

If business leaders don’t appreciate the bigger picture, such as increasing speed to market or improving productivity, programme budgets can get squeezed in favour of other priorities.

2. Embed the right - and proportionate - control framework in your infrastructure from the start

Many companies assume historical IT controls will suffice, but that’s not how it works: a new framework for a cloud environment must be developed.

Transformations will slow down if control frameworks aren’t properly implemented. Typical issues we’ve seen clients encounter is having to pause testing after identifying significant gaps - or finding duplicate controls and poor workflow management due to poor design.

3. Design in resilience and engage closely with regulators to stay on top of changing compliance needs

Constantly evolving regulations can also trip up a cloud transformation. According to Flexera’s 2024 State of the Cloud report, 75% of respondents see compliance as a significant challenge. The issue is that regulators are also learning about the cloud and continually evolving rules around security, privacy and other areas. So they’re scrutinising each transformation in great detail.

Take one financial services organisation’s experience: its major cloud implementation featured technology-resilient architecture, but they were only using one provider. The regulator said there was a concentration risk – what if something went wrong? This threw a wrench into the company’s plans, causing the company to rework their implementation at additional costs.

4. Incorporate the right tools as early as possible to optimise cloud costs

Managing costs tops the list of cloud infrastructure challenges, as cited by 84% of organisations. Multiple providers and a range of service options all contribute to complexity that hides inefficiencies - with an estimated average 27% of cloud IT spend wasted. That lack of clarity can mean business leaders start pumping the brakes on transformation.

Tools exist to simplify financial decision-making around migration planning and cloud operations, taking information about technology components, dependencies and security requirements to create models for different cost optimisation scenarios. These are based on a ranking of priorities, such as maximising total cost of ownership or eliminating end-of-life risk.

Other tools can help optimise spending in multi-cloud environments by providing visibility into allocations for various business units, rather than specific cloud vendors.

5. Remember the critical change management element and develop long-term plans for new skills

New business models require new skills, such as managing cloud providers, optimising costs, enhancing cloud application development skills and using cloud toolsets in DevSecOps. If these skills aren’t incorporated early on, then a transition will inevitably slow down or stop. Companies must make time to train current staff, recruit new employees and ensure the right people are in place.

Failing to have the team ready to go can have wide-ranging implications. In one case, a financial services organisation lacked critical skills for its Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) which meant the technology portfolio needed replanning — a significant and costly disruption.

No one wants a big investment in cloud that goes nowhere. A stalled migration could make it harder for you to compete against a more tech-enabled peer. Fortunately, if you prepare for these five common challenges from the start, you’ll have no problem seeing your transformation to the end.

Contact us

Jon Maskery

Jon Maskery

Partner, UK Financial Services Consulting, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7802 952626

Mark Warburton

Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7834 610034

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