Being an early adopter of new technology can often come at a higher cost than it is worth. As a result, businesses all over the world are slow to embrace digital innovation. Many of us were caught off guard by the pandemic, which forced hundreds of millions of workers to seek shelter and essentially move all operations and most daily life online. Not all businesses had the technological tools they needed to deal with these new challenges. Pre-Covid-19, for example, most businesses had only just begun their cloud-migration journeys. According to Accenture research from 2019, 90 percent of enterprises have “adopted cloud technology in some form.” On average, these businesses only had 20-40% of their workloads in the cloud. Even the preliminary steps were significant. Technavio, a market research firm, predicted a 7.1% increase in the cloud migration services market before the pandemic hit ($7.1 billion in 2024). This would imply a compound annual growth rate of 24%. These figures, however, are expected to skyrocket following the pandemic. According to a study conducted after Covid-19’s impact, 87 percent of “global IT decision-makers” believed Covid-19 would cause organizations to accelerate their cloud migration. Businesses must transform numerous processes and functions within their organization by implementing an integrated cloud strategy and embarking on a transformation journey. A “cloud-first strategy” is formed by combining all of these factors. Why cloud will continue to explode post-COVID According to another study conducted by a cloud-native logging and security analytics company, up to 81 percent of organizations reported that COVID-19 had accelerated their cloud timelines. Companies plan to move more than 75% of their apps/workloads to the cloud, up by 200 percent. Eighty-six percent of companies consider cloud options when developing new applications, and more than 40 percent choose the cloud as their first choice. The reasons are well known by this point. Using public clouds eliminates many of the pandemic risks associated with maintaining your own data center, hardware, network, and software. During quarantine, many companies that were not in the cloud encountered issues. Public cloud providers remove these problems by making everything virtual. During the pandemic, public cloud service providers demonstrated their dependability as well as their ability to scale up quickly. In light of COVID-19-related problems with on-premises systems and a move to remote work, many businesses moved their processing to the cloud. Three ways you can get more out of your cloud investments 1. Start Me Up (Once More) – BCP in the Cloud It may appear overwhelming, but to achieve digital transformation, you must initiate a complete cultural shift. Business Continuity Plan or BCP is one area that must be approached with a fresh perspective. A cloud-first business that operates with an inflexible BCP created at the beginning of the fiscal year – and then forgotten – is the polar opposite of lean and agile. To aid in the mindset shift, you could even retire the term BCP entirely! With cloud platforms correctly used, plans for fast failover to backup data centres and data backups on tape are not required in any case. Instead, the objective is to identify the best strategies for providing employees with secure access to everything they need while moving from the office to the train to the home to a coffee shop without missing a beat. While user business continuity is critical, organizations must also ensure data continuity. AWS and other public cloud providers have this down pat, offering data replication across multiple zones and regions. 2. Shine a Light on Cost-Optimization It may seem obvious but only invest in cloud projects that will help your company achieve its goals. One of the motivators for many organizations to invest in the cloud is to save money. However, this rarely begins smoothly. Many businesses experience “bill shock” after migrating to the cloud because they failed to put in place safeguards to prevent enthusiastic overuse of AWS accounts and instances. We’ve also seen large organizations turn off everything in AWS, stifling innovation. The emphasis here should be on establishing a robust set of controls that do not prevent the use of cloud services but rather set boundaries. You can set up alerts and controls when certain quotas are met, such as when a developer spends £500 on AWS time on an experiment. 3. Engage the Boardroom Beasts Today, technology is a boardroom issue. However, board members who are cloud illiterate can hinder a company’s ability to succeed. The most effective way to overcome this is to ensure that all board members understand, are involved in, and agree with the cloud journey. As organizations shifted rapidly to remote working, a significant shift to cloud-based platforms and solutions occurred. Many C-suite executives were also compelled to accelerate their cloud migration plans during this time period. 27.5 percent of IT leaders polled in a recent Cloudreach- sponsored IDC study of 200 IT leaders agreed that large-scale cloud migrations were “essential for business survival” in the future. Conclusion The first step in a cloud-first strategy is to identify an optimal cloud strategy and execution plan, which is followed by a secure and cost-effective migration and modernization to the cloud. Using the right expertise and cloud data models, it unlocks existing intelligence and insights, and then reimagines business functions to emerge as a stronger innovation enterprise. All of these elements must be present for businesses to transition from non-agile and capital-intensive infrastructures to cloud-based innovation platforms that are industry-specific. 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