How much of your business is in the cloud? How has the pandemic affected this?
Businesses have been migrating to the cloud for years, but 2020 brought tremendous change and resulted in the steepening of the cloud adoption curve.
As early adopters have made the shift, more businesses are now considering the benefits of sending more of their workflows and underlying technologies to the cloud. But even with this recent trend, many companies still aren’t taking advantage of all the benefits of moving their operations to the cloud.
An Accenture study that focused on businesses shifting their technologies and workflows to the cloud found that only 10% of over 8,300 surveyed companies had cracked the code on what Accenture calls “systems resilience.”
“Systems resilience describes a system’s ability to operate during a major disruption or crisis, with minimal impact on critical business and operational processes. This means preventing outages, mitigating their impact, or recovering from them. Our definition of systems includes applications, architecture, data, cloud, infrastructure and network.”
Considering the pandemic’s effects on the business environment and economy, organizations were forced to face the imminent challenge of defining and operating within this new environment.
This sudden and unprecedented shift has brought most business systems to their knees, forcing immediate change and the adoption of new standards, practices, and technologies. Of all the associated changes prompting swift adoptions, Accenture’s report notes the following key considerations:
- Business continuity risks including supply chain disruptions, shifts in customer touchpoints, unavailability of critical resources, and gaps in business continuity protocols.
- Surges in transaction volumes (e.g., because of a shift from physical to digital purchasing) or precipitous declines in demand.
- Monitoring, reporting, and decision-making with real-time data to respond to immediate business needs in a dynamic environment.
- Workforce productivity challenges associated with with connectivity and security issues due to employees working remotely.
- Security risks including countering bad actors who will inevitably seek to take advantage of individuals and organizations.
“Migration is the essential first step in maximizing cloud value. It provides scalability, resilience, security and lower total cost of ownership. But it’s only the start. And it needs to be seen in its broader context: as a means of enabling the IT environment to be run in a different way and unlocking new value for the business.”
While migration to the cloud will be crucial to the success of many types of businesses, it is critical that new entrants find cost-effective approaches to their migration and adoption efforts. This is especially important for smaller businesses. Forbes’ Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) explained in a recent article that smaller businesses in particular, “don’t have the luxury of testing out and paying for expensive software and systems they ultimately may not keep, so it’s important that their chosen solutions are budget-friendly and effective from the start.”
YEC went on to explain that a successful migration will enable greater focus on core competencies if tech stacks are effectively outsourced to reputable providers.
A successful migration to the cloud will also increase a business’s collaborative capabilities by ensuring that more information and more tools are accessible to a wider audience. Widening the audience and increasing collaboration across teams can make it easier to sort and analyze increasing amounts of data.
Before the cloud, businesses typically stored everything on a local drive, which made accessing large files cumbersome and time-consuming. This reality aligns with YEC’s Jean Ginzburg’s observation that cloud adoption will drive efficiencies because the comparative accessibility and ease-of-use of cloud technology trumps other, now-outdated technologies.
Businesses that committed to cloud migration before the crisis were of course better positioned to successfully navigate the new risks and changing employee and consumer behaviors. However, a study by the Everest Group found that enterprises still had, on average, no more than 20 to 40 percent of their workloads in the cloud at the start of the pandemic.
This highlights the work that many businesses still need to do, and partnering with the right providers will be critical to ensuring that remaining cloud migrations are efficient and cost-effective.
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