According to Softcat’s latest annual Business Tech Priorities Report, Cloud is the third most important technology investment among our customers.
And many other industry reports show Cloud adoption and spending is at an all-time high.
For late adopters, the pandemic has acted as a tipping point where organisations were forced to accelerate their deployment of Cloud technologies while migrating away from their own data centres.
For others, the focus has been (and will continue to be) on improving their Cloud operations, including cost-control, bolstering security, simplifying connectivity and making applications and data core to deciding the right platform.
So, looking ahead, what can we expect from the Cloud market in 2022? And how can organisations get more from their Cloud environment to ensure exceptional user experience at home, out of home, and in the office?
The IT Delivery Gap
The so-called “IT delivery gap” is a term being used to explain the widening gap between what a business needs and what their IT teams can deliver.
Digital transformation is a top objective for businesses, but strategies are increasingly being held back or slowed down by an IT team that isn’t growing fast enough to keep up, has a shrinking budget or is focused on reactive “fire-fighting” instead of proactive planning.
Scaling IT capacity, in an affordable way, to meet these changing demands is key. And that’s where Cloud can help to close the gap.
An increase in adoption can allow IT teams to re-focus from traditional activities, freeing valuable time to support the business. Moreover, it can provide the unique opportunity to diffuse traditional IT responsibility into the business to provide greater independence at the edge with governance from the centre.
Sustainability through smarter cloud use
Technology has transformed life and work beyond recognition. And the pace of digital disruption is only getting faster, unlocking new opportunities to become smarter, leaner and more secure. And this will lead to sustainability gains too – but not without conscious effort.
Sustainability is the new currency; historically IT has been measured on cost, security and performance. But looking ahead, sustainability will be central to IT decision-making and become more closely aligned with wider corporate and social responsibility targets.
Of the over 1,200 Softcat customers we surveyed in 2021, over 120 said sustainability - within the context of IT and technology - was an important focus. This signals positive progress, and we expect this to grow year on year as organisations better understand their role in helping to combat the climate crisis. With Cloud, there’s an ability to act and realise immediate impact when it comes to sustainability. Organisations no longer need to design costly and wasteful IT systems with the hope that they will be fit for purpose in 5- or 10-years’ time. Changes can be made almost instantaneously based on current needs, resources and budgets. In fact, According to the International Data Corporation, Cloud computing can potentially prevent more than 1billion metric tons of C02 between now and 2024.
Software engineering – a new type of skill
The IT industry has often had its own version of ‘real world’ concepts.
In the physical world, infrastructure is heavily dependent on power, water and electricity to do the job it was designed to do. Similarly, in IT, digital infrastructure relies on several other things to perform – such as servers, storage and a network.
And just as engineers are the brains behind our physical infrastructure, software engineering is a growing profession where skill sets are in huge demand – and surprisingly in short supply.
As the pace of Cloud continues to challenge many organisations, access to software engineers will become vital for digital success.
When it comes to hiring policies, a rethink is needed. The “standard” hiring process: applying for a job through a company’s website, conducting an in-person or virtual interview with a CV review, can mean great talent is slipping through the net. After all, software engineers are just as likely to have taught themselves a new language, framework or tool without taking a formal course.
Companies should strive to look beyond traditional recruiting methods to help solve the tech talent shortage and be able to tap into a growing, but still relatively small, pool of software engineers.
Evolution at the edge
Historically, conversations about edge computing have centred around remote sites, such as manufacturing plants, warehouses or mine sites.
The need to have IT close to these locations due to intermittent connectivity and data heavy processing isn’t doubted, but the past 18 months have shown how the edge also represents the modern employee, requiring access to systems wherever they are.
Cloud has provided a significant step to narrow the distance between the edge and core, but it has also proliferated the challenge of a diverse systems landscape. Next, organisations need to think about how to secure the connectivity from the edge while protecting its employees, data and information without hampering new flexible workstyles.
All levels of computing — endpoint, edge, and Cloud — need to cooperate for the best outcome.
Buzzwords become reality
A growing number of organisations now recognise that data is the lifeblood of their business. But Big Data, AI, ML, IOT and blockchain are still no more than buzzwords in most conversations.
While the features and capabilities of Cloud make these technologies more accessible, the applicability of them is not immediately apparent, meaning many businesses aren’t sure how to take the first step and are at risk of being left behind.
To unlock the potential of these emerging technologies, more blueprints are needed to support organisations to make the transition in way that’s cost and resource effective. Here, the role of the Partner will become key, helping to guide customers through this new landscape and help turn these buzzwords into reality.
Head in the clouds
It’s clear to see why Cloud is and will remain to be a top priority for businesses. The sky is the limit for Cloud in 2022, with real benefits for businesses to close the IT delivery gap and use it to be come more agile and sustainable. But we hope that in 2022, we also see a shift in some of the confusions around Cloud. This includes the way software engineering is perceived, and more discussion around alleged buzzwords that might hold real value for businesses in time to come.