It was not that long ago that the cloud was just another buzzword that CIOs and business leaders across the world would use. Fast forward to just a few years, and you now find that, together with security, the cloud is right at the top of their list of priorities. It’s no longer a question of whether they should move to the cloud, but how fast they can get there. So much so that IDC expects that, by 2023, 58 percent of the total worldwide IT infrastructure spend will be cloud-related.
Our internal research at BT indicates that 85 percent of companies have already moved at least one workload to the cloud, but the majority is poised to take on a larger scale adoption. Concerns around migration costs, security, integration with legacy systems, and a lack of the right skills for the job are top of mind but eventually, as Gartner predicts, by 2022, 70 percent of organisations will have a formal cloud strategy, and those without it will flounder in their attempts to adopt cloud.
The cloud evolution
If you look at the number of services that the global cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform offer within their portfolios, it is no longer just basic storage, networking, and processing power. Cloud has become the platform to accelerate innovation such as business and collaboration apps, IoT, augmented reality, edge computing, and artificial intelligence, amongst many other solutions that indicate we have some exciting times ahead.
It is interesting to observe that the need for cloud services exists for all businesses, but increases as the size of the business grow too. The majority of SMEs will look for self-service cloud products with limited complexity and flexibility, whereas larger businesses also look to improve their productivity but tend to demand a higher level of support assessing their current IT estate, customising and training.
Moving away from large IT capital investments is a key motivator, but what is the longer-term strategy likely to look like? How can they drive a more productive environment for their teams? How can they be more flexible in meeting customer needs? Are there new opportunities and business models that cloud can enable?
The world is changing
The world around us is changing fast and the cloud is an enabler for businesses to adapt and grow. Society wants things immediately, at a lower cost, and expectations are now far higher around quality and standards. Why would we have different expectations when consuming services at work? We no longer own cars, instead, we use Uber; we no longer buy movies or music, we subscribe to Netflix or Spotify, and companies like Blockbuster were disrupted because they couldn’t adapt to change. All industries are on the cusp of the next digital evolution, as there is no intrinsic need or value to build or own the infrastructure, allowing any small company to take on a Goliath.
There are many moving parts in the journey of adopting cloud. There are the obvious elements like data storage, optimising app workload migrations and defining hybrid cloud strategies, but CIOs also need to consider implementing the latest security layers, and monitoring performance across the network as well as continuous skill updates for developers and support functions.
The market is moving so fast that we find ourselves with a huge skills shortage. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, recently said that he expects to see a shortage of around 1 million developers by 2030. This means that companies will not be able to find or even afford the best-in-class talent.
Finding the best partners
This is why organisations across all industries are increasingly looking for support from technology partners like BT to drive cloud adoption and provide a managed service. BT takes the pain away by managing the technology infrastructure, so business operators can focus on how to best serve their customers
As an example, business leaders confirm that security and optimising cloud costs are amongst the biggest concerns for cloud adoption. Gartner estimates that, by 2020, 80 percent of customers will overshoot cloud budgets due to a lack of cost-effective cost optimisation.
As more and more services move to the cloud, the role of network operators also becomes critical, as higher bandwidth connections and the vast amount of data in the cloud will require faster and more robust connectivity. Low-latency will also be a key as we see higher demand for drones, driverless cars, and assisted videos. This is why BT has invested so heavily in building the largest fixed mobile networks, as well as being the first to launch 5G in the UK, (network connectivity), and optimising cloud infrastructure via SD-WAN.
Cloud is not coming, it’s already here,and if you’re not leveraging cloud solutions now, you may be missing out on significant benefits to your business. It’s important to recognise that “a cloud strategy” means much more than just implementing the right technology. It’s about embedding the best launch-pad for your business to enable productivity, transform company culture, and identify new business opportunities. Business operators that are approaching their strategy with a cloud-first lens will not only see an increase in their operational workflows, but also in employee engagement, customer retention, and ultimately the bottom line. So, the question you then have to ask yourself is: what are you waiting for?