Three-quarters of government IT decision-makers cite migrating and managing data from legacy systems to the cloud as a challenge, but 60% think it is important to modernize IT infrastructure to improve efficiency and security, according to an IBM survey released Friday.
Half of respondents cited performance issues as a barrier to cloud migration, 38% said training users on new systems slowed modernization and 26% blamed bandwidth costs as a concern. Morning Consult collected responses from more than 500 government IT decision-makers on behalf of IBM.
"Jumping in without a plan, without an understanding [of] how they want to go about it, leads to failures, which leads to folks not wanting to modernize," Sanjay Sardar, Senior Vice President, Digital Transformation and IT Modernization at SAIC and a former federal CIO, told CIO Dive.
A mass shift to remote work pushed organizations to hastily adopt cloud technology for business continuity. Adoption is expected to continue, but organizations will be most successful if they take time to plan.
Modernization is a continuous process, according to Sardar. Organizations will have to constantly reevaluate progress to ensure they're not taking on additional technical debt and keeping security at the forefront.
Companies that continuously modernize reap more stability, and are less likely to become stuck with outdated systems down the road, according to Sardar.
A modernization plan includes points such as mission outcomes, expectations, why the organization decided to modernize and what resources the organization needs to be successful.
Organizations may fail to modernize because of siloed communications, unclear objectives, gaps in required skill sets or failure to secure buy-in, according to Eddie Ambler, CTO at BIAS Corp. Clear communication from IT leadership can help companies overcome those barriers.
"Ensure that you take the time to understand who your key stakeholders are and their needs," Ambler said in an email to CIO Dive. "Communicate the vision for the transformation journey to all the key stakeholders and secure their buy-in before starting the journey."
For some, security still stands in the way of cloud adoption or causes wariness about the technology. But organizations have more to lose if they ignore transformation.
Aging infrastructure and outdated software applications are a key vulnerability, Sardar said. Choosing not to modernize because of potential threats creates more vulnerabilities.
But organizations still struggle with security. Ninety-six percent of respondents to a Sophos survey in July 2020 expressed concerns about cloud security.
"Keeping an organization’s data safe is a critical part of any deployment (on-premise or in the cloud) so ensuring to address any cybersecurity concerns is a critical step in the transformation planning process," Ambler said. Documenting security needs, reviewing certifications and consulting outside sources can all help organizations design a secure migration strategy.