The future of the cloud: key trends in focus

October 5th, 2020

With IT departments facing budget pressures, we might have expected cloud adoption plans to be put on ice. But in fact, the opposite has been the case. Recent trends have shown that financial constraints actually strengthen the case in favour of cloud migration.

Here’s a closer look at why, despite a challenging business landscape, cloud-based digital transformation has continued apace…

The cloud and business survival
Business continuity was the big priority in the first half of the year. As lockdowns took hold, firms needed new solutions for communication, collaboration, as well as remote access to business data and applications. Cloud-based services proved pivotal in ensuring operational continuity.

In its global cloud services overview, Canalys found that spending on cloud infrastructure services jumped 11 percent in Q2 2020 compared to the previous three months, and was up 30 percent year-on-year.

Fast forward to the autumn, and most firms have already covered the basics to adjust to remote working. So does this mean we are about to witness a dampening down on cloud adoption? It seems not.

COVID-19 has forced organisations to reassess their strategic priorities. KPMG, in its recent Enterprise Reboot report found that whereas the emphasis back in March was on continuity, “the immediate focus is now on survival”. Companies are investing in the areas where their cash is likely to have the biggest positive impact.

This includes investment in technologies that help companies maintain customer and stakeholder trust, to keep remote workforces connected, and to ensure that businesses are prepared for further disruptions.

Business decision making is another priority area. To compete, businesses need the ability to react quickly to changing circumstances, which means the ability to query data at speed is essential. On top of this, IT architecture must be compatible with increasingly demanding data analytics methods.

It means that more than ever, organisations need data warehousing solutions that are powerful, scalable, flexible and secure. This is precisely the type of environment that the cloud can offer. 38% of companies plan to increase their cloud spend this year (up from 31% last year). Small wonder that cloud adoption is continuing apace.

Slow adopters change their attitude
Some sectors have been markedly more reluctant than others to embrace the cloud. Factors holding organisations back include regulatory compliance rules (especially over data storage), nervousness over data security, and fears over reliability and data availability.

The banking sector was traditionally seen more cautious than most when it came to the cloud. Now though, things are changing. As a couple of high profile examples, AWS has recently agreed a multi-year partnership with HSBC, while Google Cloud has linked up with Deutsche Bank. For the banks, the emphasis is on modernising their architecture, increasing their data analytics capabilities and creating a more personalised customer experience.

So what is driving the change of mind? Money plays a big part. Whether you’re a global bank or an SME, it’s often the case that switching to the cloud is a cheaper way to scale up your capacity and capabilities, compared to trying to overhaul your on-premise legacy architecture.

It’s also the case that the cloud itself has evolved. For instance, improved container technology makes it much easier to deploy multiple cloud providers as back up, significantly reducing the chances of an outage. On the security front, there’s also the realisation that tapping into the cyber security expertise of the likes of AWS, Google and Microsoft is likely to be a safer bet than relying solely on in-house security capabilities. As fears over reliability and security are reduced, the case in favour of the cloud becomes impossible to ignore.

Achieving success and managing expectations in 2020 and beyond
The cloud promises a lot. But organisations need to realise that cloud migration is not necessarily a quick fix for whatever challenges they happen to be facing.

A reminder of this came in a recent survey of 350 companies by security vendors Fortinet and supply chain specialists, IHS Markit. Of the respondents, 74% had migrated at least one asset into the cloud, only to later move it back into their on-premise infrastructure. The two top reasons for the reversal, cited by 52% of respondents, were performance and security.

Organisations migrate their data and applications to the cloud for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, it could be to support wider business transformation initiatives, to boost your storage capacity, to facilitate wider systems access, to reduce your IT spend – or a combination of all of these and more.

These days, with resources under pressure, it’s going to be more important than ever for businesses to take a planned, measured approach to cloud adoption. What do we expect from the cloud – and what do we want to do when we get there? Only once you have articulated this can you define the performance levels you need – and hone in on the specific cloud solutions you need in order to reach them.

Why Millennium Consulting?

Our cloud migration expertise – combined with innovative tools for data cleansing, mapping and reconciliation – ensure that your move to the cloud is as efficient and effective as possible.

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