Enterprise IT leaders are aggressively moving legacy business systems to the cloud

Despite cost, people and process concerns, the benefits outweigh the challenges, a report from IT services provider Lemongrass finds.

cloudcomputing-istock-1019729438-metamorworks.jpg

Image: iStock/metamorworks

Some 77% of IT leaders said their primary motivation for migrating legacy systems to cloud infrastructure was either a desire to secure data, maintain data access or save money, a new survey finds. Optimizing storage resources and accelerating digital transformation were other top reasons, according to the Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-Cloud survey.

Meanwhile, 78% of respondents said that IT management systems were the most likely legacy applications to move to the cloud, while 46% said security and 39% said e-commerce.

The study found that enterprises are anxious to achieve the many business, technical and financial benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. However, the road to migrating and running legacy systems on cloud infrastructure can be rough for companies that fail to plan ahead, according to the study.

SEE: Cloud data storage policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Security, people, process and cost complicate migrations

Considering the importance of data security, it's no surprise that security and compliance were listed by 59% of IT leaders as the top challenge facing enterprises when moving legacy systems to the cloud, Lemongrass observed. Other factors respondents cited: Migrations took too long (43%), costs were too high (38%) and a lack of in-house skills (33%).

Sixty-nine percent said the typical legacy-t0-cloud migration cost between $100,000 and $250,000, and 57% of respondents said that somewhat or very rarely do these projects come in under budget.

In terms of job skills, database integration experience was cited by 21% of respondents as the top skill required for performing legacy migrations, followed by experience with the chosen cloud platform (15%), previous migration experience (12%) and testing validation (also 12%).

The talent shortage is also a concern—68% of respondents said it was very or somewhat hard to find people with these skills, and 40% said migrations took at least seven months to complete.

Employee training, data security are the top operating challenges

Once enterprises have migrated legacy systems to cloud infrastructure, training becomes an issue. Forty-two percent of survey respondents said that difficulty training end-users was the top challenge to using legacy systems now running on cloud infrastructure.

Forty percent of respondents said their top challenge was that security concerns had not been adequately addressed, while 34% said the cloud platforms they chose did not work as expected, according to the study. Another 34% said the top challenge to running legacy systems in the cloud was a lack of in-house skills.

Meanwhile, 60% said that multicloud management skills were the most important job skill for IT professionals in terms of running legacy systems in the cloud. Half of the respondents (50%) said the top skill was database management, and 48% said programming. 71% of respondents said it was hard or somewhat hard to find these people.

Lessons learned from migrating and running legacy systems in the cloud 

The top three lessons learned when migrating legacy systems to the cloud were:

  • Allow for sufficient time (54%)

  •  Dedicate enough financial and people resources (52%)

  • Ensure you have the correct people/skills in-house (52%).

 The top three lessons learned when running legacy systems on cloud infrastructure were:

  • Allow for sufficient time to manage the application (53%)

  • Ensure you have the correct people/skills in-house (52%)

  • Ensure you achieve the outlined business goals (46%).

"The survey findings are very consistent with feedback we receive from our customers," said Vince Lubsey, CTO of Lemongrass, in a statement. "Enterprises are anxious to reap the benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. They understand there are challenges but the benefits far outweigh the obstacles." 

The key to success is following best practices, proper training and time management, Lubsey added. It also helps to have guidance from an experienced partner to create the required cloud operating model, he said.

Of the 150+ IT leaders who responded to the Lemongrass survey, 92% are based in the United States and 68% are from companies with at least $100 million in annual sales, according to Lemongrass. Respondents were spread across major industries, with the majority (43%) working for technology companies.

Also see

By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...