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7 Trends Accelerating Cloud Adoption- Winning the IT Environment in 2021 and Beyond

Cloud

November 27, 2020

Cloud has long gone mainstream, and today, its adoption is accelerating as both local businesses and global enterprises continue to be affected by the pandemic that drags on. With unprecedented demands to accommodate remote workforce, scale VPNs, manage security and ensure agility, cloud now offers solutions to most digital demands placed on enterprises.

Whether you are planning to adopt cloud infrastructure or are already cloud-native, 2021 is the year in which businesses are going to optimize cloud, both in sophistication and scale.

Apart from the well-known and well-acknowledged benefits like data modernization, security, flexibility and cost optimization, the year 2021 will bring to the fore other benefits like extreme ease of collaboration, maturity of cloud service providers, potential of hybrid cloud, measurability and adaptability.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Whole Cloud Forecast 2020-2024, “Spending on cloud services, the hardware and software components underpinning cloud services, and the professional and managed services opportunities around cloud services will surpass $1 trillion in 2024.” The pandemic has massively accelerated the shift to ‘cloud-centric digital infrastructure and application services’.

As we step into a brand new year, below listed are a few trends we are certain of playing a huge role in boosting cloud spending across industries.

1. Race to Automate

Automation is the Holy Grail for all enterprises looking to cut costs, optimize opportunities and streamline operations.

Migrating to cloud used to be tedious and expensive; but with cloud service providers maturing and mitigating risks, managed service providers and third-party cloud vendors have come up with solutions addressing very specific use cases and cloud challenges. As compared to lift-and-shift, refactoring and replatforming are gaining traction because they boost cloud-native skills and reduce latency. Automation greatly reduces the time and resources required for legacy application replatforming, making it an attractive proposition for enterprises saddled with monolithic legacy applications. AMAZETM, Hexaware’s automated replatforming solution, helps reduce time and cost by almost 50% in application mass migration.  

Cloud offers access to state-of-the-art tools and technologies that infuse automation into time-consuming and manual activities like spinning up resources as demand peaks and testing them and taking them down as demand dips. You no longer need IT teams and developers constantly logged in, monitoring and controlling tasks. With help of autoscaling, it is possible to scale up or down at the click of a button.

In addition to the obvious benefit of reducing manual work, cloud also helps automate:

  • Security best practices for workflows
  • Backups and disaster recovery (on-premises DR is falling out of favor in the new normal)
  • Governance with standardization and control

2. Beefed up Business Intelligence

Data has grown to be the most valuable enterprise asset. But to get the most out of data, you need cutting-edge analytics, and cloud helps make this possible. Post-COVID, businesses are accelerating movement to cloud to appreciate lower costs, scalability and security. They are also pondering on maximizing data, which is a challenge in structured and rigid on-premises warehouses.

There are almost nil restrictions on computation capabilities and storage bandwidth on the cloud. Cloud computing allows enterprises to reimagine business intelligence (BI) and analytics platforms and cover the last mile in presenting data in enriched, visual and actionable form to non-technical end consumers.

According to Cisco’s Global- 2021 Forecast, “the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross the Internet every 1 minute’. It is also estimated that there will be 27.1 billion networked devices in 2021. If businesses do not utilize the data that is going to be generated at breakneck speed, they risk losing the edge to more agile and technologically savvy competitors. The highly volatile and unpredictable economic conditions of today demand that you have your finger on the pulse of the target market and anticipate as well as respond to customer needs in real-time.

Cloud computing helps you push the scale and speed limits of BI and analytics, leveraging AI/ML technologies for greatly enhanced exploration and analysis. Optimizing the cloud also calls for aligning the right cloud services to the right use cases. If you do not prioritize workloads that best suit cloud optimization, you risk driving up governance and integration costs.

According to Gartner Top 10 Trends in Data and Analytics for 2020, “Pre-COVID models based on historical data may no longer be valid”. ‘Smarter, faster and more responsible AI’ is the future where it is expected that 75% of enterprises will operationalize AI, powering a 5X increase in streaming data analytics.

Cloud adoption is going to accelerate in 2021 because it opens the stage for visual and dynamic data stories, which are more compelling, and contextual, offering augmented and NLP-driven user experiences.

3. Work That Came Home

2020 is the year work came home with us.

Remote working and virtual collaboration are here to stay. A hybrid work culture involving home-based and office-based work defines the workplace of the future. It is no surprise that Forrester’s latest prediction is that remote work will increase by about 300% as compared to pre-COVID times.

When the pandemic hit, technologically-forward businesses were able to adapt to demands of remote or home-based work relatively easier, as compared to those whose operations and applications were hosted on premises.

Cloud-based collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom have proved to be the backbone of efficient virtual teamwork. Going forward, you can expect cloud to form the bedrock for all remote working infrastructure. Scaling up VPN for surge in remote access, securing network infrastructure devices and employee devices with updates and patches, and prioritizing user bandwidth all proved to be challenging for businesses. Moving to the cloud can make it easier to scale and adapt, ensuring high availability of development services, secure applications and infrastructure, if and when another crisis appears.

4. Hybrid/Multi Cloud and New Possibilities

Hybrid cloud is a cloud solution that suits most businesses, helping them find the middle ground between IT strategy and digital transformation strategy.

Hybrid cloud brings together the unique strengths of public and private cloud, and on-premises IT in one place. It gives you the freedom to have business-sensitive applications on-premises, move less critical enterprise workloads to public cloud data center, and maintain a dedicated cloud infrastructure with private cloud. This gives businesses architecture control and the ability to orchestrate among multiple platforms.

Many large enterprises opt for hybrid cloud because it gives them:

  • Workload portability between public and private cloud environment
  • Mobility and flexibility with two interconnected clouds
  • Centralized management of cloud resources
  • Convenient orchestration between cloud environments
  • Easy implementation of encryption, endpoint security and automation tools

But it’s not entirely hassle-free, and if you do not have a dedicated team of cloud experts or work with an experienced partner, you may run into:

  • Soaring hardware costs with own computing infrastructure
  • Struggle managing multiple vendors, partners and applications
  • Less control over cloud platforms

So, depending on the specific needs of your business, you need to design the perfect hybrid cloud landscape that works for you.

5. The Dawn of the Age of Containers

With the growing preference for hybrid cloud, there is also an accompanying spurt in containerization. According to Gartner, by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized apps in production, as compared to 33% today. This is because while going cloud-native, most enterprises prefer to leave several of their traditional monolithic apps untouched. These apps can be deployed in containers across cloud architecture and can run in any environment without any additional configuration. Your developers have the flexibility to write, test and deploy apps in containers, knowing very well that the apps can function seamlessly wherever they reside — public/private cloud or on-premise, and are inherently cloud native-ready. This freedom is a great motivator for several organizations to test the waters and move to cloud incrementally.

6. Improved Cloud Cost Optimization

Cloud cost optimization is a skill and an art that organizations need to master to get the most out of their cloud investment. If you do not manage resources well and optimize the cloud services, you will have trouble realizing your strategic goals.

What’s ballooning your cloud computing bills?

  • Wasteful or unused resources like VMs or dev/QA servers
  • Skewed cost vs. speed vs. quality analytics
  • Unplanned API access costs
  • Deploying more and consuming less
  • Storage inefficiencies
  • Improper use of discounted instances
  • Poorly monitored licenses
  • Faulty cloud governance and compliance

But in 2021, we expect sophisticated cloud cost management and optimization (CCMO) tools and services to transform the cloud landscape.

With more than 92% of organizations having at least one cloud deployment, the market for cloud cost optimization services, tools and software is expected to grow massively. A recent report estimates the cloud billing market to grow at a rate of more than 16% during the period 2020-2025.

As a result, customers have multiple options to choose from and a robust partner ecosystem to leverage. This will definitely make investing in cloud a smart and cost-effective choice.

7. Evolution of the New Customer

In light of social distancing norms, how your customer behaves and adapts has changed dramatically. The future of retail is now touted as ‘curbside pickup’, which has become something of a star in delivering frictionless customer experience.

Curbside pickup, along with drive-through, and online click and collect, allows for contactless order fulfillment. With customers still reluctant to shop in-store, curbside solutions offer options to customers, optimize inventory, improve employee experience and increase customer satisfaction. Cloud helps businesses launch mobile apps with robust features, independent of existing channels and processes, rapidly.

For example, retailer Lowe’s had a curbside pickup app up and running in 3 days’ time, with the help of Google Cloud.

Walmart’s curbside pickup, advertised in a first-time-ever ad by Walmart during Superbowl, is now available in more than 3100 locations. Customers can also use the Walmart app to prefill prescriptions.

Cloud offers businesses the flexibility to innovate and deploy solutions in a matter of hours, something very essential to thrive and grow in the post-COVID world.

Conclusion

The pandemic has turbocharged cloud adoption, primarily due to the above-listed trends and as the unique benefits offered by cloud become more evident than ever. But, exploiting the full potential of the cloud to suit unique business needs, is a different ball game altogether. No doubt, enterprises will have to unlearn a lot of things to master cloud, optimize it and use it to fuel future growth.

About the Author

Aparna Shamjith

Aparna Shamjith

Aparna Shamjith is an experienced writer in new technologies transforming industry landscapes. Aparna’s special areas of interest include emerging disruptions in Customer Experience Transformation, Healthcare, Insurance and Business Intelligence & Analytics.

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