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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Businesses Going 'All In' On Cloud Gain Advantage Over Peers

UK cloud-powered companies are confident that their return on investment (ROI) will reap dividends, according to a PwC survey of more than 400 business and technology executives in the UK. Cloud-powered organisations are those that have gone ‘all-in’ on cloud, with adoption scaled throughout the business, from customer-facing applications and revenue-generating services to back-office and infrastructure. However, only 16% of UK organisations consider themselves to be cloud-powered.

The remaining organisations are urgently seeking to adopt cloud to modernise core technology, create business value and take advantage of AI; with two thirds of organisations believing they will have all operations in the cloud within two years.

These UK organisations report fewer barriers to success than those which have held back from investment and risk being left behind. Of the respondents that are cloud-powered and have scaled it through their business, 58% expect enhanced customer experience, 57% expect both enhanced stakeholder trust (e.g. through enhanced cybersecurity and privacy measures or shared customer responsibility) and improved cyber resilience, 55% expect a faster time to market, and 54% expect cost savings.

However, many organisations are not so advanced. Around a third of respondents are only using cloud for IT improvement and rewriting existing applications, with one in ten using it purely for the migration of existing applications and workloads. Some have broader challenges to overcome, from budgetary constraints, to a lack of skills and technology leadership. Others still have legacy platforms leaving their current technology inconsistent with their future needs.

Warren Tucker, Cloud and Digital Transformation Leader, PwC UK said: “Organisations that drive their modernisation agenda with conviction and clear cloud-powered commercial strategies are creating a competitive advantage. They will create flexibility for the future and most importantly create value from new tech-enabled IP and data. Ultimately, that can lead to a sustainable advantage in continuous innovation, whether through flexible operational processes or ongoing business model reinvention.”

Data Has Become A Critical Component In Transformation Efforts

With 38% of UK respondents investing in AI and machine learning, an enterprise-wide data strategy using cloud technologies allows organisations to reduce costs, add intelligence, increase speed, improve processes, and make real-time automated decisions and predictions. In addition, data monetisation, the ability to sell anonymised data and insights on public cloud exchanges, unlocks entirely different business models and streams of revenue.

Chris Oxborough, Cloud Transformation Leader for Risk at PwC UK, said: “Cloud technologies, from infrastructure and platforms, to applications, data, and more, have become a critical enabler of ongoing transformation, and are key to creating continuous value from data and fast-growing technologies including AI and generative AI (GenAI)."

“Forward thinking executives realise that this data, harvested through AI and machine learning, have become a critical component to their growth. The right data gives organisations the power and freedom to create new revenue streams and opportunities. Access to richer, better data and insights enables more robust reporting, and smarter decision-making across the organisation, supply chain and logistics network. The organisations most tuned into these opportunities with the technology to enable change will reap the rewards.”

Getting The Right Skills In The Right Place

Even with the right investments in cloud, strong leadership, and considered strategy, success isn’t guaranteed. Having the right people in place is equally as important in overcoming barriers. In fact, 55% of UK respondents will look to hiring or contracting to plug skills gaps, 51% believe that upskilling their existing workforce will provide them with sufficient talent, and 35% are outsourcing and/or using managed services to deliver the in-demand skills and capabilities they need.

Warren Tucker said: “Businesses are looking to find the right balance between recruiting, upskilling and external talent. For many, they’re focused on equipping their current workforce with the right forward looking skills, extending their own internal capability in areas that offer competitive advantage like technology. As our survey shows, many are rethinking how to more widely adopt cloud and automation to better drive efficiency, and remove some of the load from the workforce and third parties. At PwC, we’ve boosted our capability to help organisations on this journey, establishing a Cloud and Data Engineering practice to further bolster our strategy and digital transformation capabilities, enabling us to partner with our clients and strategic alliance partners to shape, design and engineer transformational outcomes.”

“With such a shortage of critical technology skills in the market right now, organisations need to consider what they can do themselves to address the capacity need, and who they need to partner with to gain extra capability.”
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