The world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been driven by the cloud. Not only have cloud providers contributed to solutions to the virus itself, they’ve been instrumental in helping businesses to keep the lights on as they have been forced to pivot into a new way of doing things.
The switch to working from home – one of the most widespread responses to the pandemic – has been cloud-driven. Thanks to the easy availability of powerful software solutions like Microsoft 365 and other cloud-based software programs and services that have enabled workers to do what they need to, no matter where they are.
Earlier this year we wrote a piece about 3 ways the cloud could evolve in 2021, and now we have another few to add. The cloud is close to our heart here at Boxfusion because it is integral to the products we develop, so we like to keep a close eye on developments that could affect us and our clients going forward.
To that end, here are four cloud predictions we’ve spotted that could affect cloud’s evolution in 2021 and beyond.
Cloud computing will live at the heart of the “new normal”
Big organisations will continue to use the cloud as a driver for their digital transformation. 2020 saw many organisations accelerating their transformation to digital because they were left with no choice.
For instance, Gartner reported that 69% of Boards of Directors accelerated their digital transformation activities in 2020 as a direct result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is likely to continue throughout 2021, even as the world comes to grips with the virus and rolls out vaccines to prevent its spread. IT departments could continue to adjust their digital transformation strategies along the lines of COVID-19 trends, while also being sure to keep those in line with their organisations’ digitrans goals.
Public clouds will continue their dominance
2020 saw public clouds from the big vendors (Amazon, Microsoft, Google) experiencing huge growth on the back of the pandemic.
IDC noted that enterprise spending rose 34.4% in both public and private cloud spheres, while spending on non-cloud IT initiatives dropped by 8%.
2021 should see those public cloud vendors grow even more, bolstering their cloud market shares and expanding even further into more sectors of the global economy.
Multi-cloud and hybrid strategies will expand
We’ve discovered that big organisations are no fans of vendor lock-in when it comes to their cloud services and prefer to get what they need from whichever vendor caters to their specific needs best.
This reality has made multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies the dominant form of cloud adoption among large enterprises, and these will continue to remain the preferred way to do things in 2021 and beyond.
In plain terms, companies will continue to adopt a variety of cloud services from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, HP, IBM, and Dell EMC. Their loyalty will be to their bottom lines as well as to whether those companies are able to deliver the results required from their cloud services.
The “Intelligent Edge” will play a bigger part in cloud service delivery
The shift to working from home in 2020 had other effects, too. It inspired a major boom in mobile devices, automation powered by artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and Internet of Things platforms as well.
This has provided cloud providers the opportunity to shift workloads to “intelligent edge” platforms. Deloitte describes the intelligent edge as “drawing on multiple Industry 4.0 technologies to help a company quickly act on data close to where it’s captured”.
With smarter devices on the edge and the low-latency connectivity offered by 5G, Frost & Sullivan predicts that by late 2021, 90% of big companies will utilise edge computing to some extent. Add AI into the mix that can intelligently process and apply the data generated by edge devices, and F&S predicts that the demand for cloud-to-edge applications will climb steeply in the coming years.
More to come
As we gain even more insights into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work as we collectively work our way through this sticky situation, we predict that even more interesting predictions will emerge.
For now, the ones we’ve listed here are interesting enough to capture our imaginations, and have us envisioning a technology-driven future that is looking brighter than ever.