It’s relatively common knowledge that cloud migrations often fail: Nine out of 10 CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted cloud-migration projects firsthand, after all, and they’ll tell you so themselves. But the path to failure turns out to be far more circuitous than you might imagine. The fact that three out of four organizations that have moved applications to the cloud have then moved them back to their own infrastructure should tell you that, as well.

But where, exactly, are things going awry for so many, so frequently?

The answer is hard to summarize in a single sentence. But the research suggests it has something to do with correctly identifying and prioritizing the underlying issues — that is, the issues driving your move to the cloud to begin with.

With that in mind, let’s unpack the 15 key drivers of cloud migrations, some of which might look pretty familiar. Understanding them clearly will ensure that your team is closely aligned going forward.

Nine out of 10 CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted cloud-migration projects firsthand. Three out of four organizations that have moved applications to the cloud, only to then move them back to their own infrastructure.

1. supporting digital transformation and innovation

Delivering superior customer experiences. Spearheading organizational transformation. Who doesn’t want to take credit for that? Of course, doing so requires modern development environments alongside the right talent and agility — in other words, all of the ingredients for a cloud-migration journey.

2. reducing costs and consolidating workloads

Particularly with the rise of mass remote work, IT leaders are under increased organizational pressure to deliver bottom-line results. In practice, however, this is a tall order: How, after all, do you cut costs while improving efficiencies? Well, you might inaugurate a cloud-migration journey, as a start.

3. ensuring greater scalability

rising bars with arrow
rising bars with arrow

All too often, IT teams today are struggling with capacity-management challenges, at once forecasting demand while also being called on to deliver mission-critical resources on an ad hoc basis. When that becomes untenable (as it inevitably does), senior leaders are going to step in with the blueprints for a cloud migration.

4. tightening security

IT teams that are capable of continuously delivering high-quality code are integral to organizational success. One issue, though: As production increases, so too do risks. In that context, how do you tighten security throughout the software delivery life cycle as well as within DevOps practice areas? You guessed it: by going to the cloud.

5. increasing availability

This one is a no-brainer: Businesses — not to mention partners and customers — expect that IT services will be available 24/5. Where that doesn’t prove to be the case, cloud-migration journeys get underway.

6. driving Integration

Successfully integrating complex APIs with IT systems is crucial to modernization for most companies today. Yet as end-to-end automation grows, so too does the demand for tighter integration with business-supporting systems. Cue up a cloud journey.

7. unleashing the power of advanced tech capabilities

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NPL) hold tremendous power to contribute business value for most companies. Yet there’s a paradox at work, as well, since creating and hosting these services internally often proves to be impractical. And the solution, more often than not, involves moving to the cloud.

8. addressing hardware end-of-life

laptop with tools on screen
laptop with tools on screen

Traditionally, IT departments had a fairly narrow scope of responsibilities, which chiefly had to do with owning hardware, infrastructure and data centers. As a result, of course, today these teams frequently find themselves trapped with outdated technology. Unsure of where to go, many organizations opt for cloud-migration journeys.

9. expiring data center contracts

This is every bit as straightforward as it sounds: Whenever and wherever large IT contracts expire, look for cloud-adoption and -migration opportunities to emerge.

10. rapidly growing capacities

Rapidly accelerated business growth is an unequivocal good thing, right? Well, that depends on who you ask. For example, it can also have the effect of outstripping an organization’s existing data-center capacity, which can result in any number of business challenges. Many organizational leaders will push for cloud-migration journeys when that occurs.

11. handling new requirements from partners or regulators

When IT is unable to meet the requirements of partners or regulators through purely internal resources, the cloud is often the best option. (It’s also sometimes the only option.)

12. leveraging mobility and IoT applications

The cloud offers tools and platforms that are required to create and deploy many mobile and IoT applications. That alone is enough to convince many organizational leaders that they should forge ahead with cloud-migration journeys.

13. restructuring in the aftermath of M&A activity

Existing data centers can be strained when infrastructure, systems and applications are absorbed or consolidated, as is often the case in the wake of M&A activity.

14. sunsetting software

software life cycle
software life cycle

Software end-of-life support inevitably creates opportunities to move key applications to the cloud.

15. delivering on business intelligence and big data goals

Business intelligence and big data both require vast amounts of data, together with intensive workloads, which collectively can strain internal systems’ capacity to accommodate. In that context, a cloud-migration journey may be the most sensible move.

key takeaways

Maintaining focus on the cloud journey is often paramount to success — and that means dialing in on key drivers underlying it, such as the ones identified above. Of course, more than one of these drivers can be in play at any given time, and sometimes they may even conflict with one another. Equally challenging is the fact that drivers over-emphasizing, say, the perspective of developers or operations, or that fail to integrate security into the mix, more often than not result in incomplete or sub-optimal migrations, as well.

For more deep-dive insights and actionable takeaways about cloud-migration journeys, check out our latest white paper.