Increasing operational efficiency is vital to any organisation today most especially given the current impact from Covid-19 pandemic. It is important to ensure that organisations leverages the most effective strategy to harness benefits from the cloud.
But what is cloud technology? Cloud technology is a very common term used across industries today but some still consider it a maze to navigate around. For anyone thinking cloud technology is one of those passing trends then it’s time to rethink.
So let’s dive in. Cloud Technology also referred to as Cloud Computing is delivering services through the use of software or hardware over an internet network. This means that through cloud technology you can access data, applications and other devices so long as these devices are connected to the cloud through programmes which are accessible.
This article briefly looks into cloud technology as a business enabler, why organisations need to adopt it and strategies for assessing cloud readiness.
What if cloud technology never existed?
Ever wondered what it would be like if there was no Netflix, Amazon TV, Apple TV, Sky, eBay, Facebook, WhatsApp etc in these current times? That’s right, it would feel like been sent into stone age.
In 1963, MIT developed a technology which made it possible for two or more people to access the same computer at the same time. If you can picture this at the time we’re talking about those massive box-like mainframe computers with rims of magnetic tapes for storage. Yes that’s the one. It was the forerunner of what we know today as Cloud Computing.
With an infrastructure such as the mainframe computers, there is no way an organisation could have established an effective remote working environment should there have been an emergency situation such as the COVID-19 Pandemic. In a situation such as this, CEOs would be left with little to no option to make. No cloud technology would mean no flexible working, no flexible working would mean no earnings for employees and organisations. This eventually would means a more challenging time than what was experienced from the impact of Covid-19.
As time moved on technology giants such as Amazon, Google etc stepped into the space to innovate the computer mainframe idea to what we have it today as cloud technology which is also referred to as cloud computing. As a result making each cloud technology unique.
The uniqueness of these cloud technologies developed by the technology giants such as Microsoft, google etc has created a wave of innovation across the cloud’s ecosystem. The availability of cloud capabilities has led to these technology giants operating in ways that enable them maximise key stakeholder values hence establishing unique features and capabilities specific to the needs of users.
So in today’s terms why move to the cloud?
What’s driving the change to cloud technology
Given the current global change i.e. Climate change, Covid-19, uncertainty around BREXIT etc no organisation would like to be left behind.
Analyst report from Canalys indicates that, organisations across the globe spent over $107 billion on cloud technology service in 2019. This is up by 37% from records from 2018. Gartner which is a global research organisation predicts that the worldwide spend on public cloud services will increase by 17% in 2020 to a total of $266.4 billion which is an estimated increase from $227.8 billion in 2019.
These figures will in no doubt get us asking what’s driving these change?
Here are a few drivers to consider which influences the push to cloud technology.
The adoption of cloud technology embraces cost reduction by default. This mean saying good bye to a number of hardware equipment and in some cases data centres. The cost savings embraced as a result of the cloud can often be spread across other IT expense such as flexible licensing models and cloud support services for SaaS technology (Software As A Service).
Cloud technology enables more responsiveness to organisations, customer needs and market changes. According to a 2015 reports from cloud enterprise, responsiveness happens to contribute to 66% of the reason why organisation move to cloud technology. While increasing responsiveness, it is important to ensure that new IT skills are acquired to help manage the effective deployment and use of cloud technology.
Today, many organisations are equipped with all that’s necessary to adapt to the new normal of flexible working for their employees such as secure single Sign-On to Multi-factor authentication, accessible laptops devices, service over the internet and secure cloud. That’s why organisations such as Leeds City Council. Greater London Authority, University of Sussex, Google etc were able to create and deploy remote working strategy in days.
Just another default, as with cloud technology comes efficiency. Based on 2015 reports from Cloud Enterprise, efficiency is accountable for an estimate of 71% reason for driving organisations towards cloud operation. With cloud technology, organisations are able to streamline operations, eliminates waste, improve productivity as a result enables organisations to meet customer demand and expectations. For example kids globally are logging on to the cloud portals, completing academic schoolwork and engaging in group sessions.
This case also became popular with universities, for example the University of Sussex were able to use cloud technology to support distance learning effectively. One institution which has been a frontrunner and were ahead of the Covid-29 disruption is The Open University as it had maintained cloud strategy for a long time hence students and academics have had complete digital environment in their own homes which mirrored the In-Class experience.
Based on 2015 reports from cloud enterprise, customer experience accounts for 45% of the reasons why organisations move to the cloud. Customer experience has improved due to the innovative ways organisations use cloud technology to engage customers i.e. AI enabled cloud communication medium etc another way customer experience has been enhanced is through innovative workplace productivity.
Recently healthcare organisations have invested significantly in Cloud Technology which helps to support healthcare professionals in providing front line services. Within healthcare, Cloud technology are used to support ground breaking and collaborative work by healthcare researchers globally in finding the right vaccine to the Covid-19 virus.
Business growth is considered a major reason why organisations adopt cloud technology. Cloud technology in this instance is considered a growth enabler, enabling organisations to meet their growth targets hence reaching more customers.
The sixth driver is assurance. This simply refers to the concept of secure data. Based on 2015 reports from Cloud Enterprise, assurance ranked 73% as to why organisations adopted cloud technology. When data is held up in the cloud, such data is often held securely and maintained by cloud providers hence a sense of security.
Current Trend In Cloud Technology
As mentioned earlier, the cloud will continue to evolve over time due to various change drivers. Let’s look into some trends;
1) Public Clouds
Public Cloud is cloud services offered via third party providers over the public internet, hence making them accessible to anyone looking to use or purchase the service. These service may be sold separately on demand or free of charge which allows customers to pay per usage for CPU cycles, bandwidth or storage consumed.
Public Cloud has the advantage of providing cost savings as it saves companies the cost of purchase and maintenance of On-Premise hardware and application infrastructure. In this instance, the cloud service provider is responsible for all management and maintenance of the system.
2) Private Clouds
Private cloud is computing resource used by one organisation which could be hosted by third party provider or be physically located on the organisation’s data centre. Private cloud services and infrastructure are maintained on private network. Private clouds are often used by financial services institutions, Government agencies and other organisation seeking enhanced control over their environment.
3) Hybrid Clouds
Hybrid Cloud combines both public cloud and private cloud allowing application and data to be shared between them. Hybrid Cloud enables organisations scale on-premises infrastructure up to the public cloud to handle any overflow.
Organisations have the advantage of flexibility of the public cloud for basic and non-sensitive computing operations, while keeping critical applications and data on-premises, safely behind company firewall.
4) The rise of multi-cloud
Multi Cloud uses two or more cloud services from any number of different cloud service providers. Multi-Cloud could be all-public, all-private or combination of both. The Multi-cloud is used to distribute resources, minimise risk of downtime, data loss and increase storage available to organisations.
5) All SaaS Becomes Intelligent SaaS
Software-as-a-Service, analytics, IT Ops and BI products are currently imparted with machine learning hence delivering automation and insight.
6) Demand for Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service Peaks
As cloud technology and flexible working continues to pick up, the cost of down time could increase. Reports from IBM states that the average cost of data breach is close to $3.92 million. While according to Gartner (global research organisation), the average cost of IT downtime is close to $5,600 per minute (this is dependent on the business the organisation operates in). For example down time cost experienced within e-commerce or financial service organisations would be higher compared to down time cost experienced within an educational organisation.
Watch out for our next article which will focus around assessing organisational readiness for the cloud. Feel free to like, comment and share
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About the Author
Ehime Enahoro is a business and digital consultant with years of experience and has provided consulting services to organisations across a number of industries such as FinTech, Healthcare, Travel, Property, Education and Government. Passionate about sustainable innovation, process re-engineering and well-being. Other interests includes writing, speaking, coaching, mentoring, long distance running, football and golf.