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The View from Customers That Have Taken the Journey with Microsoft Azure

Executive Summary

Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation efforts in 2020 and 2021 have accelerated dramatically. This year, 95.5% of enterprises are implementing a digital platform, compared with 91.8% in 2019, according to a July IDC survey.

Meanwhile, approaches to digital transformation are diverging. Many companies have retreated from a vision where a single end-to-end platform must drive and govern all digital transformation efforts. Rather, companies are increasingly focused on specific business cases and selecting the right technologies for each one. The percentage of companies choosing this approach grew by 80.2% between 2019 and 2021 and now comprises 46.2% of enterprises pursuing digital transformation.

This shift occurs amid the rise of public cloud, hybrid cloud, and multicloud options, presenting a mix of both opportunity and complexity. Application modernization is a critical component of the digital transformation playbook, and its meaning has expanded and changed. It is now a discipline that considers a series of modalities, as defined by IDC: rehosting on-premises applications to the cloud with almost no changes; “replatforming” them so they can leverage basic cloud platform services such as autoscaling; refactoring their architecture to gain many more cloud-related benefits; the use of cloud-based development tools, from code editors to full DevOps toolchains; and finally, a complete cloud-native rewrite of an application, both to provide new functionality and to help retire legacy assets.

Enterprises have many choices when it comes to application modernization tools, services, and platforms. With Azure, Microsoft has sought to create a one-stop shop for such customers, with a vision that spans not only its proprietary assets but also a wide array of open source and partner-led technologies.

In This White Paper

To assess the state of application modernization efforts among Microsoft customers and prospects, IDC conducted a web survey in August 2021 that drew 205 respondents. The results showed that while companies have experienced some challenges — particularly concerning IT culture change, upskilling, and costs — respondents enjoyed broad successes through their application modernization efforts, with more than 80% reporting improvements in time to market, security and reliability, delivery of innovative experiences, and efficiencies.

IDC also conducted five in-depth interviews with companies that have heavily factored Azure into their application modernization journeys. Their stories provided ample anecdotal support for the survey data’s findings.

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