SoftwareOne: 2023 cloud outlook


The cloud is a game-changer for mid-sized enterprises. It is not just an IT platform; it is a launching pad for business transformation and supercharged performance. When fully adopted, the cloud enables companies to leverage their inherent competitive advantage—their ability to move nimbly in a fast-evolving marketplace.

However, cloud computing entails more than just relocating workloads from a physical data centre to a virtual one. It requires a management team that agrees on the value the cloud can bring to their business and a structured, outcome-driven approach to make it happen.

Despite myriad potential benefits, mid-sized enterprises have been slow to adopt the cloud. They have trailed their larger counterparts in cloud usage, since they have smaller budgets, fewer resources, and less digital talent. With smaller IT teams and more limited access to cloud expertise, these companies often face greater headwinds when transitioning from well-established on-prem IT systems to cloud platforms.

However, as the global pandemic made painfully clear, migrating to the cloud is essential for smaller companies in a digital-first world. These enterprises are now moving fast, shifting applications and business functions to the cloud, modernizing their applications, and expanding their use of different cloud services.

To study the unique drivers and concerns of mid-sized enterprises as they adopt the cloud, in the fourth quarter of 2022 ThoughtLab, a global research firm commissioned by SoftwareOne, surveyed 300 senior technology executives at North American companies across industries. These companies have less than $1 billion in annual revenue and fewer than 7,000 employees. The research showed that nearly all the companies (95%) started their cloud journeys in the last five years, and most within the last 2-4 years.

To assess how cloud migration influences business strategy and performance results, ThoughtLab identified the percentage of applications and business activities that each of the surveyed companies operates in the cloud. Using those percentages as a guide, it plotted each of the companies along a cloud progress bell curve, and classified 25% as beginners, 58% as intermediates, and 17% as leaders.

This paper focuses on cloud leaders, since they provide evidence-based insights into the performance gains from cloud migration and the practices that will deliver the best results.