Digital transformation was critical even in the pre-pandemic world, but with organizational resilience being tested at unprecedented levels, now it is more critical than ever. Companies of all sizes across the globe are witnessing IT infrastructure shortcomings and experiencing operational bottlenecks due to the drastically changing business landscape. Global business leaders are increasingly turning to digital investments, directed explicitly towards the cloud, to navigate the new normal and create value. According to Gartner, global end-user spending on public cloud services will reach $304.9 billion in 2021 from $257.5 billion in 2020. The research giant states that the pandemic accelerated the upward shift in cloud spending and expects it to account for 14.2% of the total global enterprise IT spending market in 2024.
Renewed cloud focus is imperative to overcome the challenges intensified by the pandemic. Accelerated digital transformation powered by cloud-ready business models is the strategic way forward to stay resilient, simplify operations, innovate faster, scale quickly, and optimize costs.Pandemic Exposed the Underlying IT Infrastructure Gaps
As organizations strive to ensure business continuity and prepare to transition to the new normal, it’s critical to understand how businesses are now more vulnerable to IT infrastructure complexities and operational roadblocks posed by the pandemic.
A. Technology Challenges
- Inability to Access Physical Data Centers Poses Business Continuity Risks
The Covid-19 pandemic curtailed access to the workplace, including on-premise IT infrastructure. Without being present on-site, IT teams struggle to repair or upgrade the physical infrastructure, thereby increasing the probability of failure of servers, storage, and network systems. Limited or no accessibility to the physical infrastructure also hampers scalability requirements to meet fluctuating demand and halts continuous IT support.
- Inefficient Physical Infrastructure Grapples With High Remote-working Volumes
A drastic increase in remote working volume is a pressing issue for traditional infrastructure. Growing workloads stress organizations to turn to immediate measures such as lift and shift strategies to migrate certain portions of the technology environment on the cloud. Such piecemeal initiatives subsequently collapse and add no value as they require high operational efficiency. Organizations usually fail to leverage cloud-optimization levers to match the varying needs due to physical infrastructure constraints and eventually reduce costs or increase flexibility.
- Remote Work Increases Security Risks
As businesses accommodate new ways of working from remote locations across the globe, the context for security monitoring undergoes significant change with a new infrastructure composition, including home internet and personal mobile devices. As data moves beyond business walls, organizations are exposed to additional risks of data leakage and loss. Businesses face an uptick in security incidents and are now more susceptible to sophisticated phishing attacks and malware threats.
B. Operational Challenges
- Heterogeneous IT Infrastructure Increases Connectivity Problems
Restricted mobility and the growing need for remote work necessitate maintaining a reliable and optimal connection between the geographically distributed endpoints and the network. It’s becoming highly challenging for the organization with traditional IT infrastructure to manage a stable network and efficiently cover points of failure.
- Limited Flexibility Restricts Operational Efficiency & Business Resiliency
The continuous availability of mission-critical applications is a priority for businesses. Organizations using legacy systems struggle to maintain the business applications’ uptime and manage multiple IT resources, including servers, databases, and security systems with limited accessibility. It’s becoming increasingly challenging for traditional organizations with limited or no agility to ensure business resiliency and operational efficiency in the event of unprecedented disruptions.
- Distributed Workforce Struggles to Work Across Siloed Infrastructure
Remote work demands more collaborative ways of working and aligning IT development and business operations to increase delivery agility during uncertain times. Most organizations lack a robust DevOps model that ensures speed to market and flexibility by eliminating silos, making remote work a viable long-term option for organizations, and empowering organizations to respond instantaneously.
Cloud-based Infrastructure Modernization: Digital Playbook for New Normal
Cloud has emerged as the most critical enabler to support organizations withstand volatile times. Cloud helped businesses to cope up with sudden and unprecedented demand peaks posed by the massive shift to digital channels. Organizations that move quickly to realign business and IT strategy and rethink business models leveraging cloud have an opportunity to modernize their technology backbone. Businesses embracing cloud are empowered to build resilient systems and processes to enable future workplaces and gain a competitive advantage. Shifting to the cloud ensures easy scalability, the ability to implement new operating models and innovative offerings, and minimize security risks.
Let’s explore how cloud-based infrastructure modernization helps accelerate the digital transformation to successfully navigate the new normal and emerge as a winner post-pandemic.
Multi-cloud Strategy to Facilitate the New Normal requirements
According to global technology research and consulting services firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), 2021 will be the year of multi-cloud driven by the need for business agility reaffirmed by the pandemic. Most organizations deploy a mix of on-premises, off-premises, and private and public cloud models to ensure their workforce operates seamlessly from virtual workplaces. The COVID-19 outbreak highlighted the importance of business agility to automatically scale up or down to match demand fluctuations and manage resources in real-time. The multi-cloud environment ensures an exceptionally flexible approach to managing infrastructure complexities. It allows easy orchestration across the technology stack to manage resources, data, and workflows across the IT architecture.
Virtual Data Centers for Centralized Data Management
Cloud enables organizations to build modern virtual data centers designed to centrally collect, constantly consolidate, and analyze massive data to improve operational efficiency. Virtual data center resolves connectivity challenges of the geographically distributed workforce and allows continuous access to data and mission-critical applications. Organizations can overcome data backup, disaster recovery, and data redundancy challenges with centralized data centers backed by the cloud to keep remote workplaces up and running at all times. Besides, access to real-time data facilitates quicker decision and reduce operational risks.
Robust Security Perimeter Design in the Cloud
The pandemic changed how organizations operate and broadened the attack surface due to a more dispersed work infrastructure network. The Remote work environment renders traditional perimeter security models obsolete. Organizations now seek more proactive monitoring across all distributed devices and access point management. As perimeters disappear, businesses need to replace perimeter-level security with a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity and implement new cloud-based security models to ensure better protection of data and IT assets outside the organizational perimeter and adhere to compliance regulations.
The Road Ahead: Cloud is The New Normal
As businesses prepare for the new normal and accelerated need to adopt digital business models, the cloud emerges as the primary enabler. It offers much-needed agility, resilience, and innovative capabilities for transitioning the business at scale. It helps transform the core business processes and build future-ready operating models that add value by providing a robust technology backbone. Moreover, enterprises need cloud technology to enable the remote workforce for higher productivity, design virtual workplaces for effective collaboration, and manage secure access to data and systems. Undoubtedly, the cloud is the new normal. However, organizations need a trusted advisor with expertise in cloud computing and relevant industry knowledge to ease the transformation journey and assist in planning, designing, and implementing intelligent cloud solutions at scale.