Medium-sized organizations face challenges in cloud adoption


The adoption of cloud services has accelerated significantly among Canadian organizations in recent years. In order to remain competitive and promote business continuity through a global pandemic and beyond, organizations are leveraging cloud solutions to introduce software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) capabilities. In fact, according to our 2021 cloud report, nearly half (45 percent) of Canadian organizations have or plan to adopt IaaS or PaaS.

One of the biggest drivers of cloud adoption in 2020 was the result of a rapidly expanded remote workforce that needed access to organizational data and applications from remote work environments. Moving to the cloud became essential for all organizations to be successful, as these solutions provided employees with the ability to maintain business continuity. For many organizations, their first foray with cloud began with SaaS, as many applications are easily accessible online. According to our cloud report, nearly all organizations surveyed (92 percent) had adopted at least one SaaS solution. Due to the convenience of SaaS capabilities, organizations typically move non-mission critical workloads to SaaS in an effort to reduce costs and improve application management.

Medium-sized organizations lag behind large and small peers

One of the most interesting revelations of our cloud report is how far medium-sized organizations lag behind in cloud migration compared to both smaller and larger peers in cloud adoption. In fact, medium-sized organizations, which include firms that have between 100 to 499 employees, are particularly behind their peers in public cloud adoption, especially when it comes to PaaS and IaaS. In this respect, small businesses, with only 1 to 99 employees, and larger, 500+ employee organizations, are twice as likely to have adopted PaaS and three times more likely to have adopted IaaS solutions.

One of the main reasons medium-sized organizations hesitate to invest in these digital solutions is that they tend to be more impacted by technical debt from historical and substantial IT investments, which are often difficult or unpalatable to divest. Being indebted to legacy systems or lacking the proper skill set to execute a transformation to cloud results in cloud being seen as less of a growth-related priority these organizations. In fact, with only 25 percent seeing the cloud as the platform for digital innovation, compared to the 33 percent of their larger peers.  

As many organizations plan their future around cloud migration to realize their digital transformation ambitions, more than half of medium-sized organizations are not prioritizing the cloud at all. Partly to blame for this is the onset of the pandemic, which has greatly affected investment plans in the near-term. In fact, nearly one-third (31 percent) of Canadian organizations say they have decided to delay cloud investments altogether due to COVID-19. Although all businesses are likely re-evaluating their IT investments looking ahead to a remote and increasingly digital future, a lack of innovation and adoption of scalable solutions could create a myriad of barriers in keeping up with more future-proofed peers. As many medium-sized organizations are unsure of how to proceed with their cloud investments, it’s important they carefully assess their path forward to avoid being left behind.

Cloud technologies allow organizations to sustain and scale their business and operations, while also providing meaningful digital services to their customers. Whether organizations choose to retire, rehost, re-platform, retain or refactor their workloads, it’s critical to find a knowledgeable and skilled provider that understands their unique organizational needs to help realize goals in a safe and reliable manner.

More information on our 2021 cloud report can be found at the link here. If you’re interested in learning more about CDW’s cloud solutions and how we can help your business, visit