Research@DBTA: New IT Workloads Survey Reveals Digital Transformation Priorities and COVID-19 Challenges

It's been widely observed that COVID-19 has caused a dramatic acceleration of companies' digital transformation priorities, compressing dramatic changes that would have spanned years into just a few months. But how impactful has the pandemic been in reality, and what are the forms that this "digital transformation on steroids" is taking?

To better understand current trends in data management, including the impact of COVID-19 on IT budgets and innovation, as well as digital transformation and cloud priorities, Unisphere Research, the research arm of Database Trends and Applications, recently conducted a survey, in partnership with Aerospike, Inc., a provider of next-generation, real-time NoSQL data solutions for any scale.

The survey looked at respondents' digital transformation priorities in light of COVID-19, how the pandemic is impacting budgets for transformation versus overall IT budgets, which cloud vendors organizations expect to rely on most heavily in the future, and what their main infrastructure concerns are as they look to the future.

Download the report to better understand what digital transformation projects are on the rise, how companies are currently prioritizing and spending on cloud adoption, and what factors are driving decisions. And for key survey highlights, access the infographic here

Right now, organizations are prioritizing new approaches to managing and storing data, leveraging that data for business apps and insights, and protecting that data. The top digital transformation projects are cloud solutions (73%), BI and data analytics (55%), and cybersecurity (42%). In addition, a significant percentage of respondents reported IoT and machine learning/AI initiatives, 30% and 29%, respectively.

If you have a digital transformation budget, what specific projects/initiatives is your organization undertaking? (Three allowed)

  • Cloud solutions: 73%
  • BI or data analytics: 55%
  • Cybersecurity/information security: 42%
  • IoT: 30%
  • AI/ML: 29%
  • Customer/user experience: 22%
  • Digital business: 16%
  • Edge computing: 9%
  • 5G: 7%

When cloud computing began to be adopted for enterprise use, many cloud initiatives started with private clouds. While private cloud use continues, public cloud is gaining ground. Fifty-nine percent of companies surveyed are currently using public cloud technology, followed by 55% using private cloud services, and 48% taking a hybrid cloud approach.

Hybrid approaches are often favored by organizations because they allow more flexibility, efficiency, control, and governance.

The survey also identified the current use of multi-cloud scenarios among 22% of the respondents, and asked respondents what they expected 5 years from now. By far, hybrid cloud is the scenario that most respondents expect to embrace in the future.

Which type of cloud do you anticipate your organization will be using primarily by 2025? (Choose any that apply)

  • Hybrid cloud only: 53%
  • Multi-cloud: 29%
  • Public cloud only: 27%
  • Private cloud only: 21%
  • Inter-cloud: 6%
  • None of the above: 5%

The most popular cloud vendors are AWS and Azure. And, looking ahead 5 years, that trend is expected to continue. Today, 36% of companies have more than a quarter of their workloads in AWS and, in 5 years, 42% expect more than a quarter of their workloads to be in AWS. As for Azure, currently 23% of companies have more than a quarter of their workloads in Azure and, in 5 years, 35% anticipate more than a quarter will be in that cloud platform as well.

Cost savings, the strongest motivator for companies to move to the cloud (80%) is also the greatest challenge regarding cloud use for many companies (62%).

Nearly half of the organizations that participated in the survey are currently focused on streaming data, followed closely by IoT. When asked about whether data from these initiatives could strain their infrastructure, 47% said it was a concern. Of those who said they did not foresee a problem, only 21% said their infrastructure is capable of handling these trends.

To read the full survey report, "DBTA Cloud Workloads Survey Report," go here.