In a survey of 700 business leaders across Canada, Microsoft also found that a large majority of C-suite executives have plans of implementing a digital strategy in 2017 but even after more than a decade of being exposed to developments in shared Internet-based computing there is still “some skepticism” among business leaders.
“A good 71 per cent of respondents say implementing a digital strategy is among their top five business objectives and 68 per cent are doing some form of cloud computing,” Chris Barry, vice-president of enterprise and partner group at Microsoft Canada, told ITIC yesterday. “However, many executives still have many questions about moving their workloads to the cloud.”
Barry was speaking at the Microsoft Tech Summit in Toronto, where the company showcased recent enhancements to its Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365, as well as other enterprise mobility, security and collaboration services.
Asked what are the top hurdles preventing many Canadian businesses to migrate to the cloud, the Microsoft executive said many businesses are also concerned their legacy systems will not work with cloud infrastructures.
Other findings from the survey were:
- 89 per cent of business leaders says it is important that cloud service provider solutions integrate with existing IT investment
- 90 per cent of respondents said it is important that cloud providers actively target cyber criminals and work with governments to maintain top cyber security standards
- 85 per cent said they want their data to remain in Canada
“Data residency is a major concern for many Canadian companies,” said John Hewie, the national security officer at Microsoft Canada. “Many organizations in heavily regulated industries such as the financial and medical sectors need to comply with laws that require customer data remain inside the country.”
Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice-president of cloud and enterprise marketing for Microsoft, said the company is able to cater to Canadian data residency requirements because it maintains two local data centre regions in Toronto and Quebec.
Doug Schneider, senior vice-president and global technical officer at Manulife Financial, said the financial demands and expertise required to build and maintain a cloud infrastructure prevents even large corporations from adopting cloud computing on a major scale. His observations dovetail with the findings of other surveys on cloud adoption.
For example, Canadian companies would rather turn to hosting vendors than spend money on building their own or improving existing data centre, according to a study by analyst firm IDC Canada.
Over the past three years, Canada has seen a build out of over one million square feet of data centre space, and well in excess of 100MW of power added to the market, the report found.
IDC also found that over the past 24 months, the needs of a data centre have continued to increase.
In June of 2013, Manulife embarked on a major cloud journey with the objective of moving 95 per cent of its workload to the cloud.
“This was a major move that represented a disruption for us,” said Schneider. “Will we make it? I believe that by 2020, everything we do will be cloud first.”
Even large enterprise companies could not carry out such a project alone, he said. Most organizations have heavily invested in non-cloud infrastructures. In many instances, they lack or do not have enough cloud expertise.
“I don’t have the people, time, and infrastructure to do it,” he said. “But with Microsoft, this is no problem. With Azure, I’m able to shave off eight month’s work of setting up a thousand servers. And they can help me scale down or up in a matter of hours.”
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