It’s been just over a year since Covid-19 changed the world as we know it. Every country, business and person in the world has been affected.
In the cloud sector, we witnessed a dramatic shift as a result of changing work patterns — including the overnight move to remote working. Cloud spend reportedly increased by 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. The likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure also saw unprecedented demand during the early stage of the pandemic.
As organizations pivoted rapidly to remote working, it precipitated a major shift to cloud-based platforms and solutions. This period also forced many C-suite leaders to fast-track their cloud migration plans. In fact, 27.5% of IT leaders surveyed in a recent Cloudreach-sponsored IDC study, which surveyed 200 IT leaders, agreed that large-scale cloud migrations were “essential for business survival” going forward.
This new research reveals that embracing the cloud and accelerating digital transformations are key for enterprises. Of those asked, in the last 10 months, 29.5% of businesses have fast-tracked their digitization plans, whereas 17% revealed that the pandemic has slowed their plans.
While the cloud was a lifeline for many of these organizations, they now need to prepare for future continuity events. This will likely see the accelerated removal of physical data centers and humans from their supply chains, meaning organizations will rely more than ever on their cloud infrastructure and platform service providers. Indeed, in the same IDC research, 66% attributed their accelerated cloud transformation to the pandemic, while 59% pinned it to business demand for greater IT speed and agility, and nearly half (45%) said it was due to data center update, expansion or exit (45%).
This surge of companies moving to the cloud is set to continue throughout 2021 as we navigate the future of work in a post-pandemic world, with Gartner forecasting public cloud services will grow 18.4% in 2021. We’re due to see a new category of business value from the cloud throughout the year ahead: business continuity-led cases. Companies have had their business continuity needs reset at an unprecedented scale and will now embark on cloud modernization projects with the aim of ensuring they can function properly when we’re hit by similar crises in the future.
IT In The Boardroom
While many businesses understand the power and importance of technology, Covid-19 has been a catalyst for elevating tech decision-makers. Over the past year, we have all relied heavily on technology. It’s kept businesses functioning and humans connected. Now we’re seeing IT teams taking a front seat — with board executives and leadership teams prioritizing decisions on technology strategy and investments, as they have firsthand proof of how essential IT is for a company’s survival and future.
As well as a host of many other things, we've seen that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the CIO role. The IDC study linked above shows that 45% believe that because of the pandemic, their working relationships with enterprise leaders has improved, and they've started to see IT as a department that enables their business. Fifty-five percent of CIOs have increased their company influence and have seats in boardrooms.
This change in decision-making will undoubtedly now see a rise in companies investing in modernization to transform themselves into adaptable organizations based on modern cloud technology. In short, it will be the era of business transformation.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can’t predict the future — but we can predict the ongoing growth of the cloud industry. Companies have realized the true value and importance of cloud technology, and this will continue in 2021 and beyond.
While moving to the cloud was in many organizations’ future plans, the time frame for this shift was within three to five years. In 2021 and beyond, we’re going to see more organizations fully embrace modernizing their environments and adapting them based on modern cloud technology.
When looking at organizations modernizing their environments, it’s important to remember that, as Charles Darwin is often attributed to having said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Organizations need to be able to embrace change — and not just tech-focused change. It’s small areas of the business such as collaborating, driving in the same direction, following the same purpose, working in an agile way and focusing on business outcomes.
We will see real successful transformation happen in organizations once the business drives it and stops treating IT as a utility and more of a business partner. It’s important to not shadow IT and have an inclusive transformational approach.