Cost, People and Process Concerns Exist, But the Benefits of Moving to the Cloud, Such as Easier and More Secure Data Access, Are Too Good for Most Enterprises to Pass Up


Lemongrass, the leader in helping enterprises migrate and run their SAP systems on Amazon Web Services (AWS), has completed a study on the goals and challenges of enterprise IT leaders who have moved legacy systems onto cloud infrastructure.

A key takeaway from the survey, which was completed in January by 150+ IT Directors or above in companies with IT budgets of at least $1 million annually, is that enterprises are anxious to achieve the many business, technical and financial benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. However, the road to migrating and running legacy systems on cloud infrastructure can be rough for companies that fail to plan ahead.

According to a 2019 report from, the global application transformation market is expected to grow from $9.7 billion in 2019 to $16.8 billion by 2024. Per the report, the market is being driven by the need companies have for “a robust and agile environment to increase scalability and efficiency in the existing business landscape, (the) high maintenance cost of existing legacy applications and leveraging emerging technologies and increasing efficiencies of existing applications.”

The report aligns with the findings of Lemongrass’s study. Following are the primary themes and data points of the Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-Cloud survey:


Data Access, Security & Cost Savings Motivate Cloud Migrations

A combined 77% of IT leaders responding to Lemongrass’s survey said their primary motivation for migrating legacy systems to cloud infrastructure was either a desire to secure data, maintain data access or save money. Optimizing storage resources and accelerating digital transformation were other top reasons given. Meanwhile, 78% of respondents said that IT management systems were the most likely legacy applications to move to the cloud, while 46% said security and 39% said ecommerce.


Security, People, Process & Cost Complicate Cloud Migrations

Considering the importance of data security, it’s no surprise that security and compliance were listed by 59% of IT leaders as the top challenge facing enterprises when moving legacy systems to the cloud. Meanwhile, 43% of respondents said migrations took too long, 38% said costs were too high, and 33% said a lack of in-house skills was the top complicating factor.

Regarding cost, 69% of respondents said the typical legacy-t0-cloud migration cost between $100,000 and $250,000, and 57% of respondents said that somewhat or very rarely do these projects come in under budget. In terms of job skills, database integration experience was cited by 21% of respondents as the top skill required for performing legacy migrations, followed by experience with the chosen cloud platform (15%), previous migration experience (12%) and testing validation (also 12%). 68% of respondents said it was very or somewhat hard to find people with these skills, and 40% said migrations took at least seven months to complete.


Employee Training & Data Security Are the Top Operating Challenges Facing Enterprises Once Legacy Systems Have Been Migrated to Cloud Infrastructure

42% of survey respondents said that difficulty training end users was the top challenge to using legacy systems now running on cloud infrastructure. 40% said the top challenge was that security concerns had not been adequately addressed, 34% said the cloud platforms they had chosen did not work as expected, and another 34% said the top challenge to running legacy systems in the cloud was a lack of in-house skills. Meanwhile 50% said the top skill was database management, and 48% said programming. 71% of respondents said it was hard or somewhat hard to find these people.


Lessons Learned: Migrating & Running Legacy Systems in Cloud

The top three lessons learned when migrating legacy systems to the cloud were 1) allow for sufficient time (54%); 2) dedicate sufficient financial and people resources (52%); and 3) ensure you have the correct people/skills in-house (52%). The top three lessons learned when running legacy systems on cloud infrastructure were 1) allow for sufficient time to manage the application (53%); 2) ensure you have the correct people/skills in-house (52%); and 3) ensure you achieve the outlined business goals (46%).

“The survey findings are very consistent with feedback we receive from our customers,” said Vince Lubsey, CTO at Lemongrass. “Enterprises are anxious to reap the benefits of moving legacy systems to the cloud. They understand there are challenges but the benefits far outweigh the obstacles. The key to success is following best practices, proper training and time management. It also helps to have the guidance of an experienced partner to create the required cloud operating model.”

Additional survey background: The Lemongrass study was performed by Upwave. Of the 150+ IT leaders who responded to the Lemongrass survey, 92% are based in the United States and 68% are from companies with at least $100 million in annual sales. Respondents were spread across major industries, with the majority (43%) working for Technology companies. The complete Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-Cloud survey results are here.