In brief

In brief

  • While spend on public cloud is expected to grow significantly, KSA enterprises face a number of challenges on their cloud journeys.
  • These challenges can lead to complications including misalignment between IT and business and underutilizing cloud’s potential.
  • To overcome these challenges, it’s essential to prioritize cloud capabilities that are essential to business objectives.
  • Workforce change management, evaluation of cybersecurity exposure, & leveraging right alliances are key to pivot to a cloud-first mindset.

Unleashing cloud’s huge potential

Cloud provides the foundation for digital transformation initiatives. It’s also the driving force behind integrating emerging technologies like AI, IoT and analytics into these initiatives. These are the primary reasons for accelerated cloud adoption in the KSA and worldwide, particularly since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

While the Middle East region as a whole and the KSA trail their global counterparts in cloud adoption levels, enterprises in the region have a great opportunity to take pre-emptive steps now to maximize the value of their cloud investments by learning from the experience of global cloud initiatives.

The principal reasons why more than 60% of companies worldwide struggle to fully achieve their targeted cloud outcomes? Perceived security and compliance risk, complex legacy infrastructures and application sprawl, and misalignment between IT and the business are the most commonly cited challenges.

Large enterprises recognize cloud as the future of enterprise IT. And they’re actively moving from proofs of concept to production migrations at scale. As they seek to do the same, companies in the KSA need to bear in mind that cloud migration is complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive. So treating it as just another IT project misses the point.

For a successful journey that maximizes value from cloud investment, it’s critically important to invest in cloud with the right mindset. This means honing the technology and capabilities that support migration and taking five key actions into account when formulating cloud strategies.

Five key actions to maximize value

When enterprises develop their cloud strategies, it’s essential to take into account five key actions. Enterprises that do so will be well placed to rise above the rest and capture cloud’s potential as the base platform for digital transformation.

  1. Zero in on business value
  2. Ensure there’s no misalignment between IT and business goals. Optimal cloud strategies are anchored to comprehensive economic business cases to identify revenue upside and cost-efficiency opportunities while aligning goals and putting leaders across the enterprise on the same page. Bottom line? A cloud migration strategy must not be developed in isolation. Cloud is critical to business success, not simply a technology upgrade and holistic approaches will always deliver the most value.

  3. Focus on workforce and culture change management
  4. Cloud changes how people work and the work they do. That’s why it’s so important to implement talent readiness programs and new operating models that evolve culture at all levels of the business and implement new ways of working.

    Recognizing the significant skills gap for cloud-related capabilities and developing a cloud training program in line with their cloud strategy is also important for organizations.

  5. Embed security at the heart of cloud
  6. In a heightened threat environment, securing all cloud workloads used to carry out work-related asks is more important than ever. Enterprises need to be ready to respond to any cyberattack, data breach, or privacy violation that may arise as a result of the move to cloud.

    Delivering security in the cloud is not a “lift and shift” exercise. It demands clear strategic intent, a nimble governance model, alignment across the IT organization and the rest of the business, and implementation in line with enterprise risk tolerance.

  7. Leverage managed services
  8. Skills and experience of industry-leading partners can play a key role by augmenting organizations’ own capabilities. Cloud managed services will often be an option for companies seeking to tap into the right skills while maintaining cost efficiency.

    These services can help in standardizing the multiple processes and tools used in cloud management, especially for hybrid clouds. They can also overcome challenges like misalignment between IT and the business, lack of cloud skills, and security and risk.

  9. Select cloud service providers committed to the region
  10. Enterprises in the KSA should seek out cloud providers that are investing in the region through partnerships. A cloud provider with data-centres in the Middle East can also enable low-latency cloud services, as well as helping to address challenges linked to regulatory compliance like data residency, especially for highly regulated industries like banking, healthcare, and insurance.

Into the cloud

Cloud is integral to the broader transformation initiatives planned or underway in enterprises in the KSA and across the region. As well as providing the foundation for these initiatives, cloud can also bring together applications, data and security with emerging technologies like AI and advanced analytics to generate unprecedented value.

Provided enterprises maintain a laser focus on business value and develop an effective cloud strategy, they should realize outcomes far beyond cost optimization.

Pradeep Roy

Managing Director — Accenture Research

Shachi Jain

Research Associate Manager – Accenture Research


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