No matter what kind of business you run – be it a Fortune 500 company or a startup you kicked off in your garage – your top reasons for migrating to the cloud probably include reducing costs and eliminating the hassle of manual upgrades; most of our customers have those priorities in common.

But dig past those two big wins and you’ll find that the priorities, benefits, and reasons for migrating to the cloud vary a lot based on business size. The larger your business, the more likely you are to improve time to value with a move to the cloud. Medium enterprises are improving employee satisfaction at high rates. And small businesses report more peace of mind after a migration than any other category.

The bottom line is that no matter what size your business is, migration comes with big wins. Here’s what over 300 customers who participated in a TechValidate survey had to say about what those wins look like based on their business size.

What do we know about large enterprises moving to cloud?

Digital transformation directives are driving migration

Digital transformation has been on the rise for a while now — and the pandemic only accelerated things. In fact, back in 2018, 70 percent of companies were already saying they either had a digital transformation strategy or were planning one. 

According to survey results, those digital transformation initiatives are still going strong – at least with large enterprises. Fifty-six percent of Global 500 (the world’s 500 largest companies) or large enterprise customers said a digital transformation directive was at least part of their reason for migrating to cloud. This is more than double the number of medium enterprises with a directive and more than five times the number of small businesses.


According to a study by Deloitte, companies with a high digital maturity score say the key benefits of a digital transformation are that it increases customer lifetime value and improves sales.

The larger your business, the bigger the savings

If you’re one of the 75 percent of US CEOs planning to invest more in cost-efficiency initiatives, our cloud survey is coming in hot with more good news. More than half of Atlassian customers who made the switch say they saved at least 11 percent on end-user time, admin time, and hardware costs. Those cost and time savings are even more pronounced if you’re a big business.

In fact, 65 percent of Global 500 and large enterprises save at least 11 percent end user time with a move; 76 percent save at least 11 percent on hardware costs. And a hefty 88 percent say they save at least 11 percent on admin time post-migration.

The larger your business, the more likely you are to improve time to value

The larger your organization, the more likely you are to rank time to value as an important factor in your migration – and the more likely you are to reap benefits in that category. 

Thirty-two percent of Global 500 and large enterprise clients said they migrated hoping to improve time to value – compared to just 26 percent of medium enterprises and 20 percent of small businesses. Similarly, when asked about the benefits of cloud, larger enterprises were 4 percent more likely than medium and 10 percent more likely than small businesses to report gains. 


Large enterprises also report improved innovation at higher rates, ranking it as a benefit 7 percent more often than medium enterprises and 9 percent more than small businesses.

What about medium enterprises?

Performance is substantially higher on the medium enterprise to-do list

Overall, the top reasons for a move to cloud are to eliminate the cost of hosting and hardware and do away with manual upgrades. But for medium enterprises, there’s another top priority: performance. Thirty-nine percent ranked it as a top reason for their move, compared to 28 percent of large enterprises and 25 percent of small businesses. 

The good news: 39 percent of medium enterprises said they were looking for performance gains, and the data says they probably achieved them (with 40 percent of all respondents saying they saw performance benefits).

Expect gains in speed, accessibility, and employee satisfaction

When Salesforce asked SMBs about their top challenges, hiring the right talent was at the top of the list. Presumably, keeping that talent is also a big win.

So it’s good to see that, in our own survey, medium enterprises are reporting healthy gains in employee satisfaction, with 47 percent reporting it as a benefit post-migration.

Speed and accessibility is another category where medium enterprises can expect to reap rewards, with another 47 percent saying this improved after migrating to cloud. That’s 14 percent more gains than small businesses and 8 percent more than bigger enterprises.

The story of small businesses

Manual upgrade elimination is most important if you’re a small biz 

Sixty-seven percent of small businesses cite eliminating manual upgrades as a reason for their move to the cloud, compared to 58 percent of medium enterprises and 53 percent of Global 500 and large enterprises. 

With more limited resources, smaller (sometimes one-person) tech teams, and often admins already shouldering more than their fair share, this priority makes perfect sense. Manual upgrades are one less thing to worry about on an already-long to-do list.

Small companies get the most peace of mind

The smaller the company, the more likely they are to report peace of mind around security and version upgrades after a move to cloud. 

This aligns perfectly with small business priorities (eliminate those pesky manual upgrades) and it makes sense when you think about the limited resources and time available to a smaller company. Security is an expertise all its own, and if you don’t have headcount or budget for security professionals in-house, hosting your tools on server can feel daunting and risky. Similarly, those limited resources mean version upgrades can be a strain on a small team or solo admin.

With cloud, Atlassian handles security and version upgrades, so admins not only save time, but the mental overhead of having to be both admin and security expert.

Small businesses are also slightly more likely to report reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) post-migration. (Trying to reduce your own TCO? Use our cloud savings calculator to figure out how much cloud could save you.)

If you’re considering cloud migration, we’re here to help. Visit our Cloud Migration Center for more resources, migration guides, and a free extended cloud trial to help you assess our cloud products.

What your business size says about your cloud migration