We are on the cusp of a major increase in the uptake for cloud adoption. Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market will reach $266.4 billion in 2020, up 17 percent from 2019.
There are several factors that are driving this growth.
Customers today are exposed to a variety of intelligent systems in their personal lives, so they expect the same level of intelligence while dealing with enterprises too. Cloud becomes a priority since traditional data centres are simply not designed to support these modern and intelligent applications and workloads.
While earlier, the push for cloud came from the CIOs, that has changed now. Cloud brings several advantages that businesses are now convinced about. These include cost savings, increase in mobility, integrated cloud analytics bringing deeper insights, easy collaboration, sustainability and security.
Businesses require the kind of agility and flexibility that cloud brings.
The key driver for cloud adoption within an organization is the push from the business community rather than the IT community.
Second, an increasing number of organizations are adopting cloud because of the modernization and standardization of business processes in addition to the benefits of subscription models.
One interesting trend is that organizations are using a mix of products, seeking the best of breed products in each category instead of putting the entire infrastructure on one technology stack. They increasingly prefer to have a mix of enterprise apps that are best suited for a certain function, rather than placing focus on operating within the confines of a common ecosystem. Such an approach was not possible earlier with on-premise models. As a result, even large enterprises that were unwilling to adopt cloud due to concerns around product maturity, are now willing to explore it.
Enterprises are no more restricting themselves to a single cloud platform.
Multi-cloud strategies are leading to the birth of the ‘poly cloud’, which allows multiple cloud vendors to come together to work seamlessly.
Choosing an open source platform allows organizations to develop an app and run it in any cloud location, be it public, private or on premises, ensuring true interoperability.
Having said that, there are still some barriers that hold organizations back when it comes to cloud adoption. Companies and cloud vendors are exploring different ways to overcome these challenges and enable greater adoption.
Minimizing business/technology risk through a staggered approach
Often, organizations are apprehensive about the impact of cloud adoption on their operations and are concerned about massive disruptions. Large enterprises adopting cloud are reducing risk by implementing only one business function on cloud-first instead of a big bang approach where all capabilities are implemented on cloud. They add other functions in a phased manner so that the risk is reduced. Others tend to try out the cloud approach first for a subsidiary/division that is not critical and see how it works before going for the larger enterprise.
Finding the right product fit
Most organizations are comfortable with readily available out of the box products rather than invest in building a new cloud solution from the ground up. There are very few instances where companies might seek to customize an existing cloud product by working with a service provider. The need for customization is generally felt in industries that require specialized features or there is a dearth of mature industry-specific cloud products. In general, companies also invest in change management in terms of better communication, training, etc. required to build the necessary confidence.
Meeting statutory requirements
There are some IT barriers due to statutory requirements. For example, while working with governments, they might require the data centre to be in the same country or in their own data centre, rather than in a public cloud that is located elsewhere. Cloud providers are addressing these concerns. For instance, Oracle has started opening data centres in multiple geographies and countries. It also offers a ‘cloud at customer’ solution where the physical data centre is housed at the client location but managed remotely by Oracle. A private cloud computing model is an option for organizations that have varying computing requirements or who need a strong control over their environment to meet statutory requirements.
If the subscription is expensive, companies hesitate to invest in an end-to-end cloud solution. Vendors are addressing this through country-specific pricing, outcome-based pricing or flexible pricing based on usage and billing, etc. This approach helps make cloud adoption far more accessible for businesses across the board.
Traditionally, security and the need for privacy have been the primary concerns that inhibit cloud adoption. However, these concerns can be addressed through compliance solutions through a number of new and emerging security approaches. For instance, data in non-production environments can be masked to ensure the privacy of data.
In this age of digitization, as businesses constantly seek ways to stay competitive and break new ground, adoption of cloud has become almost mandatory. As enterprises find solutions to address the barriers to cloud adoption through innovative methods, adoption is only set to grow.
Dinesh Rao is executive vice president and global head for enterprise application services at Infosys. The views in this article are his own.