Complex cloud brings cybersecurity, optimizing cost into focus

Almost all (98%) senior IT leaders have been impacted by increasing cloud complexity in some capacity, potentially leading to poor IT performance, loss in revenue and barriers to business growth, according to NetApp’s 2023 Cloud Complexity Report.

NetApp partnered with Wakefield Research to conduct in November 2022 a quantitative research study among 1,300 tech and data executives holding positions of director-level and above.

Respondents were from businesses in nine markets, including the United States, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. 

Ronen Schwartz, SVP and general manager of cloud storage at NetApp, said that as cloud adoption accelerates and businesses innovate faster to compete, technology leaders are facing growing pressure to juggle multiple priorities at once — causing many to rethink how they manage efficiency and security in this new environment.

The report found that data complexity has reached a boiling point for companies globally, and tech executives are feeling the pressure to contain its impact on the business. 

However, technical and organisational challenges may stunt their cloud strategies, with 88% citing working across cloud environments as a barrier, while 32% struggle just to align on a clear vision at the leadership level.

In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets surveyed, the top business impacts due to increasing complexity of data across their cloud environments are increased skepticism over cloud from leadership (47%), staff not taking full advantage of business applications (47%), increased cybersecurity risk (45%), and lack of visibility into business operations (41%).

Also, sustainability has become an unexpected cloud-driver, with nearly four in every five tech executives citing ESG outcomes as critical to their cloud strategy. 

However, return on investment (ROI) is a concern among leadership, with 84% of tech executives saying their cloud strategy is already expected to show results across the organisation.

In APAC, 86% of tech executives are already expected to show results across the organisation. The pressure to already show ROI on cloud investment is highest in India and Singapore, where nine out of 10 tech executives feel it.

Further, 80% of executives in APAC say cloud systems are developed with sustainability goals specifically in mind. Within the region, Singapore (72%) and Japan (69%) lead in featuring cloud prominently in their sustainability strategy.

Three out of four tech (75%) APAC executives say their multicloud strategy is driven by data sovereignty requirements. 

In the next year, over a third (37%) of tech executives report that half or more of their cloud deployments will be supported by AI-driven applications. 

Nearly half of tech executives at smaller companies – those with fewer than 250 employees – expect to reach the 50% mark in the next year, and 63% by 2030, while larger companies lag.

In APAC, 56% of tech executives report that half or more of their cloud deployments will be supported by AI-driven applications by 2030. This presents a long-term growth opportunity for AI-driven applications in the region.

Scaling AI is the top priority in Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as in APAC, but is second in the US, behind meeting regulatory compliance.