Cloud services will accelerate business transformation

The cloud market is booming. According to Gartner’s latest forecast, global public cloud spending is expected to increase 23% by the end of 2021 to $ 332 billion, from $ 270 billion in 2020. As global companies seek to accelerate digital transformation in order to survive in a post-COVID-19 world with increased adoption of remote work and digital penetration, many are pivoting to a hybrid cloud ecosystem with data at its core.

About the Author

Chris Greenwood is Senior Director and Managing Director of NetApp.

As a trend, the move to the cloud was well underway before the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, simpler workloads will have already moved to the cloud. Disaster recovery, for example, is a common first step in moving to the cloud. But the rapid transformation brought on by the pandemic has forced many businesses to overcome any lingering concerns and move their critical workloads to the cloud as well. These heavier, data-intensive applications and processes will bring greater maturity to the cloud market, paving the way for new services delivered through the cloud.

Continuous maturation

Businesses looking to optimize their cloud-based operations are using new technologies to operate, manage, and capitalize on their cloud investments, such as containerization, virtualization, and advanced computing. Throughout this process, organizations become familiar with the different characteristics of different ecosystems and cloud providers, including ways in which one or the other might be more suitable for their needs. Rather than simply trying to embrace the cloud as quickly as possible, businesses are becoming more demanding and maturing in their approach to purchasing cloud services. While this better understanding may lower the price of cloud services over the next five years, companies will become more innovative in their approach to gaining competitive advantage from their data and digital strategies.

This is a huge opportunity for the cloud and data industry. While the potential commodification of the cloud market can be viewed as a threat by individual cloud providers, the broader trend of businesses to consume cloud services on a larger scale is a great opportunity. The breadth of opportunities and the emergence of technologies like Kubernetes also mean that it will always be possible to differentiate yourself. Customers and partners have needs beyond delivering the cloud: greater flexibility, robust cybersecurity, and operational efficiency to name a few. The new era of cloud services will also be governed by OPEX pricing models as opposed to CAPEX investments. This gives organizations the ability to pay only for the services they use and at the scale they need, enabling them to take advantage of one of the cloud’s most important and valued assets: scalability.

Unprecedented opportunities

If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that the ability to scale up or redeploy resources quickly can be the difference between surviving and thriving in the face of black swan events. Uncertainty has indeed become the new normal over the past decade. Rapid technological change and the data boom brought on by the proliferation of smartphones and cloud technologies forced companies to adapt quickly in the early 2000s. And industries that failed to adapt were disrupted. in an unprecedented way with the emergence of native digital start-ups such as Uber and Deliveroo. In the second half of the last decade, geopolitical events and disruptions to global trade regulations brought on by the digital arms race, Brexit and GDPR have increased uncertainty.

Against this backdrop, the need for scalability, speed and agility – three of the cloud’s greatest assets as a technology concept – has arguably never been so acute. Simply put, the world now presents new opportunities for businesses that are easily able to adapt faster. As consumers, we expect businesses to continue to improve our digital experience. As employees, we expect all the tools to do our job to the fullest, wherever we are in the world. And as decision-makers, we want to be sure that we base our strategies on all the information available. The cloud is fundamental to providing all of these features. As businesses go beyond cloud services and use cloud native technologies to enable functions like DevOps, DataOps, and CloudOps, there are unprecedented opportunities for continuous innovation. These practices will help companies get products to market faster, deploy applications and leverage data across their internal operations, and continuously improve the digital user experience for their customers and partners.

In the worlds of John F. Kennedy, “change is the law of life”. And with the world changing at a faster pace than ever before, customers are turning to cloud and data experts to optimize their digital strategies for the next decade of transformation.

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