Ria Pinto, Acting General Manager IBM Southern Africa

According to the results of IBM's new global study on cloud transformation that surveyed almost 7,200 C-suite executives across 28 industries in 47 countries – including almost 180 executives in South Africa - there has been a drastic shift in business needs.

The study, conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) in cooperation with Oxford Economics, revealed that only nine percent of respondents in South Africa reported using a single private or public cloud in 2021, down from 37 percent in 2019 – establishing hybrid cloud as the dominant IT architecture.

The findings indicate that the cloud market has entered the hybrid, multicloud era and concerns around vendor lock-in, security, compliance and interoperability remain paramount.

“Cloud continues to be a major force for innovation and transformation in South Africa. As industries face increasing pressure to deliver on innovation that improves the user experience, they are turning to technologies that enable them to quickly create and implement new applications and functions to make services more accessible and personalised.

For many of these organisations, the emergence of hybrid cloud models delivers even greater security and compliance - reducing costs, driving efficiency and sparking innovation,” says Ria Pinto, Acting General Manager IBM Southern Africa. 

The study found that a majority of respondents recognised that comprehensive to advanced cloud capabilities were required for the successful execution of digital initiatives – with 88% stating that this was crucial to building ecosystem platforms and 80% revealing this was required to improve customer experiences.

Cyber threats are at an all-time high 

Infrastructure complexity is creating cracked doors that cybercriminals are exploiting. 68 percent  of respondents recognized that security concerns were an obstacle to the business performance in some or most parts of their cloud estate.  At the same time, 79 percent said data security being embedded throughout the cloud architecture​is important, in most cases, to successful digital initiatives.

Companies are denouncing vendor lock-in

According to the study, nearly 77% percent of respondents said workloads being completely portable with no vendor lock-in​is important to the success of their digital initiatives. It was also revealed that nearly 76 percent of respondents said vendor lock-in​is an obstacle to improving business performance in some or most parts of their cloud estate.

Public cloud adoption is evolving towards industry clouds

The study found that nearly 76 percent of respondents cited industry-related regulatory compliance as an obstacle to the business performance of their cloud estate.

The study revealed that enterprises need to assess how they use the cloud in terms of adoption, velocity, migration, speed, and cost savings opportunity. Other recommendations include: 

  • Focus on security and privacy - determine where your critical workloads reside and scrutinise who and what has access to them. Regularly test that security controls and privacy policies are being adhered to, but also that improperly configured assets and software vulnerabilities are being promptly addressed.
  • Ask which workloads should move to the cloud – take inventory of the IT environment to successfully determine which workloads and applications will yield the most value in the cloud and which are better suited to stay on-premises. 
  • Make data work for you – analyse workloads using AI driven tools and best practices to determine where and how to put them in the right place for the right reason. 
  • Set a tactical approach – address the technology trade-offs, such as selecting the best approach to modernise specific applications and manage important issues like security, governance, and disaster recovery.
  • Determine the right team – put a cross-disciplinary team of people to work rethinking how your enterprise creates value for its customers.  

 Access the full study findings here:  https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/institute-business-value/report/cloud-transformation

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