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Chapter 1

Introduction and Executive Summary

Why do you need cloud-based digital innovation now?

Digital transformation is no longer just a priority, it is an imperative to ensure customer loyalty, efficient supply chains, thriving partner ecosystems, and competitive advantage in the digital age.

Digital transformation is built on cloud technologies. IDC estimates that by 2023, over 40% of enterprises will replace outdated operational models with cloud-centric models that facilitate rather than inhibit organizational collaboration, resulting in better business outcomes.

2020 has been a tipping point for cloud adoption, driven by the unprecedented disruptions from the pandemic. IDC has seen an acceleration in the adoption of cloud technologies because they provide the agility and flexibility that organizations need to adapt quickly to a changing environment. Customer engagement mobile applications, employee engagement, task applications, safe return to work applications, ecommerce platforms, mobile banking solutions, call centers, chatbots, digital twins, and many more have been built on the cloud and enabled organizations to deal with the effects of the pandemic effectively, surging ahead of their competition.

Cloud is the engine of digital transformation, and it is important to get cloud transformation right enterprise wide. In 2021, the European IaaS public cloud market is set to grow 30.3%, higher than both SaaS and PaaS. Cloud is not just “someone else’s computer,” but requires new technical and business skills, organizational change, new roles, and new work methods.

For an effective transition to the cloud, IDC recommends these winning strategies for cloud success:

  • Defining the right cloud strategy
  • Building cloud foundations
  • Modernizing applications
  • Ensuring security and compliance
  • Implementing cloud operations and governance
  • Applying continuous innovation, resilience, and data programs to become a future enterprise

Engaging in cloud-based digital innovation successfully requires the implementation of a complex set of processes and technologies. To benefit from previous experience and ensure success, it is recommended that organizations engage with a competent technology partner.


IDC undertook cloud adoption research, including a benchmark survey, to assess where organizations are on their cloud journey,
as well as exploring their attitudes, usage, and future outlook of the cloud in achieving their business outcomes. The research benchmarks organizations on three stages of their cloud journey — Cloud Experimenter, Cloud Optimizer, and Cloud Innovator.
The research reveals that organizations with more cloud experience are running their cloud infrastructure more effectively and driving a greater degree of digital innovation than their competitors.

Getting your cloud journey right is critical to remain competitive and meet increasing customer and employee expectations. IDC’s cloud benchmarking survey shows that 96% of cloud innovators (the most experienced cloud users) have realized business benefits from their cloud implementations, compared to only 73% of cloud experimenters (the less experienced). What is even more important to note is that a high proportion of even the less advanced cloud users are still seeing business benefits.

But that is not all. The survey revealed that choosing the right partner for your cloud-based digital innovation journey is important, and Cloud Innovators value the following attributes in their cloud technology partner:

  • Strategic advisory and vision of the partner
  • Depth of cloud experience and skills, including multicloud management
  • Business-process level understanding
  • Industry-specific IP and expertise
  • Proven methodologies, frameworks, and cloud center of excellence
Source: IDC, 2021 Cloud Benchmark Survey, N=700

In this paper, IDC analyzes the results of its 2021 Cloud Benchmark survey of 700 IT and business decision makers from across the EMEA region and shows what we can learn from the most experienced organizations.