Unpacking the 2023 HashiCorp State of Cloud Strategy Survey [Video]

Watch this 10-minute video for an insightful overview of the survey’s key findings and how HashiCorp can help your organization make the most of the cloud.

HashiCorp’s 2023 State of Cloud Strategy Survey focuses on operational cloud maturity, defined by the adoption of a combination of technological and organizational best practices at scale. The results highlight how highly mature companies combine technical and organizational best practices (such as platform teams) to gain better outcomes.

The State of the Cloud Strategy 2023 survey is based on research commissioned by HashiCorp and conducted by Forrester Consulting. We surveyed nearly a thousand practitioners and decision makers from around the world to uncover insights about how organizations are adopting cloud technologies. The video below

The less-than-10-minute video below offers an insightful overview of the survey’s most important findings and how HashiCorp can help your organization make the most of the cloud. (Read the edited transcript for all the info plus related links and other material.)

HashiCorp sees cloud implementations of all shapes and sizes, but if you ask five different companies what’s important to them, you’ll likely get six different answers. However, if you ask nearly a thousand practitioners and decision makers around the world, you're likely to uncover some trends. And that’s exactly what we saw with the 2023 HashiCorp State of Cloud Strategy Survey.

Before we dive into the results, let's take a look at how our Cloud Strategy survey has evolved over the years. In 2021, our inaugural survey established that multi-cloud was a growing trend. The 2022 survey showed multi-cloud was established and delivering real business benefits to the organizations using it — and also revealed that security and skill shortages were two of the biggest blockers to multi-cloud adoption.

This year, we wanted to see what practices led to successful multi-cloud adoption. The bottom line: cloud maturity matters when it comes to multi-cloud adoption. Companies that employ a combination of technology and organizational best practices at scale are receiving better multi-cloud outcomes. This reinforces the value of using a cloud operating model, which we’ve seen help companies boost their multi-cloud maturity.

»The rise of platform teams

In the beginning, cloud resembled the wild west, as practitioners adopted a wide variety of ad hoc tools to address their most immediate needs. But over time, we’ve seen the rise of platform teams to help put standards in place around the use of enterprise tools, along with appropriate policies and guardrails designed to help control costs and increase security. The most advanced organizations are scaling these standards across multi-cloud implementations and even to their on-premises environments.

That’s why this year’s survey ranked respondents into low, medium, or high cloud-maturity groups based on their practices around infrastructure, security, networking, and applications, as well as their use of platform teams. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the numbers.

»Cloud spending is up!

In 2023, the turbulent macroeconomy is the elephant in the room. You might think economic factors would cause organizations to cut their cloud spending, but the survey showed 56% of organizations actually boosted cloud spending over the past year. The cloud is clearly providing a positive ROI for many organizations, and this especially true of high-maturity organizations, of which 92% say that multi-cloud is delivering business benefits (or is expected to in the next 12 months). Not surprisingly, 62% of highly mature orgs boosted their spending, by an average of 16%. Clearly, high maturity organizations are blazing a trail, increasing their cloud investments — and it’s paying off for them.

How are these high-maturity shops getting such positive results? Platform teams are a big part of the answer. 92% of respondents are adopting, standardizing, or scaling platform teams. This leads us to our first major takeaway: establish a platform team. And if you already have one, continue to scale its influence across your organization.

»The staff and skills shortage continues

Some organizations might protest that they lack the staff to create a successful platform team. Among our respondents who did not have a platform team, 36% cited a lack of staff and skills as a reason. Pulling at this thread, you might assume that the first step to solving this problem would be to find talented new employees. But top performers want to work in established environments where they can innovate. We see this in our survey results: 74% of high maturity companies say multi-cloud helps them attract, motivate, and retain talent. Just like with platform teams though, cloud maturity takes time and talent. Our respondents ranked skill shortages as the top barrier to multi-cloud.

In this chicken-and-egg scenario, what comes first? It can be difficult for low-maturity organizations to find the staff they need, but it’s also hard to create a platform team without the proper staff!

»Partners can help

This is one reason why HashiCorp has worked to develop a strong partner community. Companies of all maturity levels occasionally need assistance, which is why HashiCorp works with more than 500 systems integrators to support the success of our customers. Our most strategic partners are put through rigorous competency tests to guarantee that they can help you to adopt, standardize, and scale HashiCorp’s multi-cloud products across your entire organization. In addition, HashiCorp has resident solutions architects and engineers who can bring expert guidance and implementation. (If you’re curious about more ways to address the multi-cloud skill gap, watch our video covering the 2022 State of Cloud Strategy survey and explore HashiCorp’s certification program.)

»Security is a top multi-cloud barrier, and a top benefit

Speaking of which, the survey ranked security as the number one barrier to multi-cloud. At the same time, security is also ranked as the number one benefit of multi-cloud in. How can that be?

Ultimately, you can look at this as two sides of the same coin. Multi-cloud operations can force security out of necessity and encourage organizations to create a unified security strategy for enterprises to rally around. It is much harder to build multi-cloud success if you have not established a consistent way for developers to approach consuming secrets or service-to-service networking.

Let’s take a deeper look at the top security concerns. At number one, we have password, credential, and secret leakage, which was cited by half of respondents. This is a natural result of multi-cloud operations and modern development practices, where every service brings its own identity or multiple sets of credentials.

It’s particularly interesting that 61% of low maturity orgs had this as a concern, versus just 47% of high maturity orgs. Stepping into the cloud involves working with a large number of secrets distributed over many locations. So becoming a mature cloud organization requires embedding a consistent strategy for secrets management across all platforms. This aligns very closely to secrets management, named the second most important tool to the success of a cloud strategy.

Access control and session management was ranked the third most-important initiative for a successful cloud strategy. This is the logical next step after controlling your secrets. Many of those secrets are used by employees to access resources, so teams need a tool that can broker connections to private cloud resources using those secrets. The most important advice here is to choose complementary tools, so that you don’t create multiple silos of secrets. For example, our ecosystem leverages HashiCorp Boundary to access HashiCorp Vault, but compatibility is critical regardless of the tools you use.

»Focus on security standards

Overall, focus on security and establish agnostic standards. Security must be a priority to adopt multi-cloud and become a mature cloud organization. HashiCorp is uniquely positioned to help you do this, and in 2022 was awarded AWS Security Partner of the Year for North America. This incredible honor speaks to the progress that HashiCorp has made in zero trust security. And while this award came from AWS, HashiCorp tools are designed to work across all platforms, clouds, and runtimes, which is why we have become such a critical partner for companies pursuing multi-cloud capabilities.

To wrap up, here are three keys to becoming a high maturity organization or to remain one.

  1. Establish and scale a platform team.
  2. Leverage partners and services to overcome skill barriers.
  3. Prioritize security when approaching multi-cloud.

Maturity matters, and the only way to reach true multi-cloud maturity is one step at a time.

Visit the 2023 State of Cloud Strategy survey microsite to explore the interactive charts, read our detailed analysis, and download the Forrester study: “Operational Maturity Optimizes Multicloud”. The microsite also has links to regional analyses of the results for the Europe-Middle East-Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.

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