Five challenges to cloud adoption and how to overcome them

13 July 2021 3 min. read

A new PwC analysis has laid down several barriers to entry into the rapidly ballooning cloud market – reflective of broader challenges around the world.

Cloud computing was already dominating business agendas before 2020 – with global businesses enticed by the efficiency, security, reliability, cost savings and other benefits that come with adopting the cutting-edge technology.

With Covid-19 came a new wave of cloud adoption, as businesses sought a base for virtual working arrangements and digital customer service. “On a global scale, cloud solutions are advancing the adoption of digital technologies, and enabling new revenue streams, quick time-to-market and many differentiated benefits around data, analytics, artificial intelligence, resilience, security and automation,” explained Firas Sleiman, Partner and Technology, Digital & Cyber Leader at PwC in Qatar.

Firas Sleiman, PwC

That said, not all cloud journeys have reached their potential. The Middle East, for instance, is among several markets worldwide that continue to face key barriers to widespread cloud adoption – hindering much-needed digital transformation progress. Sleiman expands on five common barriers. 

Five challenges

A key challenge is understanding data sovereignty laws, both within a home country and in other markets. Regional businesses lack some clarity here, although concerted government and private efforts to define data paradigms will likely bring coherence in the near future – per the researchers. 

Another issue is security – or misperceptions therein. A recent Gartner study highlighted that 66% of IT professionals are weary of the security risks that come with cloud adoption – despite the fact that it actually shores up an organisation’s digital framework. More awareness will bring more adoption in this case. 

Barrier number three is picking the right cloud vendor – given the wealth of options across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and several others. Imperative for businesses is according to Sleiman to find the balance between picking the right vendor and keeping enough flexibility in IT architecture to engage multiple suppliers for varying needs.

Then there is the lack of adequate digital skills to drive cloud adoption – a widely discussed issue that needs crash course upskilling and reskilling efforts to tackle. 

Further reading: GCC workers optimistic and ready to build digital skills

And lastly, businesses struggle with a degree of inertia: heavy investments locked up in existing data centres make the prospect of upheaval for cloud migration a tedious and expensive one. Taking a long term view is the best solution for businesses here. 

Efforts are already underway to overcome these barriers, and Sleiman expects widespread benefits to follow. “Organisations have the opportunity to quickly embrace the benefits offered by cloud-based solutions. It is important to recognise the role the region plays in the rapidly evolving technology landscape.”

“With both Microsoft and Google investing in the cloud space, and with several hubs being positioned as a hotbed for research, innovation, education, healthcare and technology, we expect to see accelerating uptake of cloud-based solutions by both public and private sector entities within the next few years,” he concluded.