As digital transformation accelerates, cloud services are helping organizations thrive in a COVID-19 world
As the days tick by and the gloomy ramifications of COVID-19 become more apparent, one harsh truth has become crystal clear: Industries that have invested in digital transformation stand a better chance of recovery and survival than others.
The banking industry is a lighthouse example of this principle. Even though the brick-and-mortar branches have had to pull down shutters because of lockdowns and social distancing requirements, many banks have still operated their businesses as usual. They have kept the lights on and handled the pressure of increased online and mobile transactions thanks to cloud-based services.
While the internet has been a key enabler for digital banking, cloud has become the backbone. Cloud is making IT infrastructure vanish. Cloud is where businesses render servers, churn and analyze data, and keep applications humming so they can collaborate with partners and customers.
Many businesses are quickly turning around, moving at speed to adapt and transform their operations. YMCA, Planet Fitness and Nike are offering online fitness classes. Schools and colleges are providing online learning. The demand for Netflix and Amazon Prime has gone up dramatically, and both organizations are now easing telecom network congestion by lowering their bit rates. Online grocery retailers are attempting to keep pace with demand spikes. And working from home has gained momentum, sending the demand for routers, modems and data cards through the roof.
We will see a slew of innovations like these in the coming months, from businesses big and small, that will bring cloud services into sharp focus with their need for scale in a COVID-19 world. Everyone is looking to the cloud to reimagine businesses and make collaboration happen on an unprecedented scale, and the cloud has proven its ability to respond with speed while remaining robust.
While enterprise IT, governments, entrepreneurs and other organizations work on their plans to respond to crises, the focus should be on providing great user experience in the post-COVID-19 era. In regard to the cloud, enterprises should focus on the following key tactics to prepare accordingly:
- Scaling existing services: Applications currently hosted on-premises will move to the cloud. Extending the data center via software-defined data center solutions into hyperscalers will help achieve scale and business flexibility.
- Giving businesses ample wiggle room: By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can de-risk themselves against failure, capacity challenges and operational barriers.
- Extending and expanding geographical reach: This can be done by deploying applications to geo-specific cloud platforms.
- Going cloud-native: Design and develop new applications on PaaS using a DevOps approach for rapid rollouts.
- Strengthening the core strategy: The strategy should be to support rapid and unexpected changes in work and service consumption needs through optimal network bandwidth, VPN connectivity, bandwidth throttling, consumption-based adoption model, remote VDI as a service and SD-WAN based solutions.
- Investing in a heightened security posture: Cloud solutions should be based on data classification (privacy, availability) without sacrificing application, infrastructure, access or data security.
- Developing new working models: Address medium and long-term requirements with a hybrid support model and local onsite versus remote versus offshore support.
Having achieved the above, enterprises would be wise to reduce their operations costs and channel the savings into new cloud initiatives. Enterprises should attempt to extend the life cycle of their existing assets before considering a refresh, while simultaneously moving to a subscription-based, pay-as-you-go model rather than footing steep licensing bills.
But the cloud journey doesn’t end there. Goal-oriented and highly motivated businesses will use their cloud credits to support proofs-of-concept and other essential services. One way of doing this is to containerize applications and remediate end-of-life issues around OS, improving computing density and rationalizing OS licenses for cost savings. The other established route to achieve savings is to outsource value streams to trusted partners.
COVID-19 is going to accelerate the cloud journey for scores of enterprises, and investments in the technology will quickly show their upsides—improved business resilience, cost control, and above all, the ability to keep the lights on.