The cloud is not a destination. It’s a perpetual journey.

The cloud is not a destination. It’s a perpetual journey.

Jun 22, 2021

 

There was life before the pandemic… and life as we know it today.

During the pandemic, cloud computing boosted the world economy and supported global supply chains, while also enabling remote workforces. As the world inches towards post-pandemic recovery, the move towards cloud computing will only strength, allowing contact center organizations (and all enterprises across industries) to benefit from cost efficiencies, accessibility, scalability and business continuity no matter what may come in the future.

This ability to adapt – make that thrive – in the face of unexpected change is key to the cloud’s staying power. But let’s be clear, it’s not a matter of simply moving or migrating to the cloud.

 

In 2021, the public cloud infrastructure market will grow 35 percent across the globe, with companies using the cloud as a key means to recovering from the pandemic – Forrester Research 

 

Building the foundation for sustained growth

What felt like an unexpected and unprecedented situation in early 2020, has awaken organizations to potential disruptive challenges that could arise from other avenues including economic, environmental, legal and technological that hide in the wake.

In the face of this new reality, the cloud should not be seen as a technological application, but as a company’s core foundation on which agility, efficiency and growth are built upon.

And yes, it’s a monumental change in thinking!

So instead of viewing the cloud as a final destination – Phew, we did it! We’re on the cloud! – it should be viewed as the first level building blocks in your continuing journey and never-ending exciting trek towards growth, competitive sustainability and continued agility.

It explains why some companies are disappointed to discover that they have not attained all their cloud-based objectives soon after implementation. Improvements and results are sustainably attained through the hard work of planning, optimization and through an understanding of where you are today and where you want to grow tomorrow. From there, all decisions are based on your core foundation.

Just think of all the operational, consumer and human changes that have taken place over the past year, enabled exclusively through cloud computing.

 

47% of professionals expect disruption will continue post-Covid, while 10% expect a fundamental shift in their business requiring new ways of working – 2021 Tech Trends Report, Info Tech Research Group

 

 

Buckle up for the journey into the clouds

As Philippe Vezina, our of Director Professional Services stated in a recent article, in order for digital transformation projects to become adopted company-wide and gain success across levels, it has to start at the C-level and funnel down to every member of the organization, with particle value placed on the human element. But what’s next? What should we be considering as we adopt and embrace cloud computing?

We’ve identified five key trends to look out for as you embark or continue on your cloud journey:

 

1.  Data Governance, Privacy and Security

With the world flipping from in-person to digital over night, online security is the one trend we can all agree is tops on everyone’s list. Just think of all the millions of transactions with personal information stored online, each and every day!

Today, organizations are prioritizing data governance, privacy and security for the ethical and responsible use of customer and business data. Following the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), countries around the world are moving to adopt similar legislations that mandate the absolute protection of personally identifiable information (PII) data. Highly regulated industries (such as, healthcare and government services) have demanded that cloud providers deliver end-to-end data encryption at the processing level, instead of while in transit.

 

As of this year, Google’s Confidential Computing allows virtual machines to remain encrypted while being processed – ZDNet

 

No longer an after thought, companies are embedding data governance principles early-on into their processes, so that their IT systems, solutions and services are all entrenched with privacy and security as an absolute must.

Some companies have opted to regain control of their data by taking a hybrid cloud approach – the use of a public cloud combined with infrastructure housed on-premises. This hybrid cloud infrastructure provides complete end-to-end data encryption – while in transit, at rest or when in use. It also provides greater flexibility, transparency and control over data deemed sensitive by the company. Plus, as more countries impose data residency requirements, a hybrid model can help you achieve compliance.

 

2.  The Rise of Cloud Management Expenditures

What a surprise for many companies to discover that their costs post cloud migration have in fact increased! Sure, they benefit from remote work capabilities, increased collaboration and agility in response to market and customer demands, but what happened to the promised cost efficiencies?

Unfortunately, as more companies migrate to the cloud, cloud waste becomes an increasingly growing problem. Often, this is directly related to poor cloud infrastructure management due to insufficient skills and the lack of infrastructure self-service and automation tools.

 

In 2020, companies will waste over $17 billion in cloud spend on idle and excess resources, according to DevOps.com. Many organizations are finding that as much as 40% of their cloud spend is sunken into over-provisioned and unused infrastructure. – The New Stack

 

What you need is a global cloud strategy with strict governance over cloud provisioning, compliance and management. Through a systematic process, you can regain control over mounting cloud costs, and finally reap the financial rewards.

Lesson learned for anyone migrating to the cloud? A clearly defined cloud strategy is required from the start!

 

When evaluating the cost benefits derived from cloud investments, look at how cloud adoption can help in transforming the IT from a cost center to an asset with IT agility, empowering business with innovation in addition to productivity gains and cost savingsForbes

 

3.  Machine learning as a strategic differentiator

Within the contact center world, more and more companies are adopting chatbot and voicebot technologies that use conversational artificial intelligence and natural language learning to supplement and enhance their online customer engagement. As we saw in our fictional case study, implementing a customer self-service application can have a profound effect on customer retention, loyalty and engagement. Not to mention improving the way your human agents complete their daily tasks.

While the human experience still requires much refinement, many retailers and other progressive companies EXAMPLES are pushing the boundaries of their online self-service applications to exceed customer demand. But, it only scratches the surface of how machine learning can be applied when part of a company’s core value proposition.

Many large corporations (and sometimes not so large…) are not as agile as they can and should be. In addition to having deep rooted dated processes and legacy technologies, they often have ingrained corporate structures that do not easily facilitate the application and use of progressive technologies, that can be applied in a meaningful and broad-reaching manner. Info Tech Research Group’s 2021 Tech Trends Report makes the case that for true disruption to occur, artificial intelligence and machine learning should be adopted early in the process – well before you reach the customer with a chatbot or voicebot – so that it evolves from a supporting role to taking the center stage with a core role in identify buyers most likely to want your products and replicate these successful products.

In 2021 and beyond, companies will use machine learning as a means to create true and meaningful transformational change in all underlining elements of their business.

  • Make machine learning at the core of operations
  • Collaboration across functions
  • Make unstructured data more accessible and manageable
  • Greatly improve processes and agility
  • Find new ways to propagate its application

 

4.  Cloud Partnerships On The Rise

As the appetite for cloud computing grows, more and more, we will see an abundance of new partner formations offering multi-cloud and joint cloud provider solutions. Why? So, they can compete against Amazon Web Services (AWS). A subsidiary of Amazon, AWS is a world-wide behemoth provider of on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs. Competing cloud providers have struggled to gain market share, even with the rise of cloud adoption. To counter, competing companies are doing the once unthinkable – developing partnerships to leverage complementary expertise in order to provide a more compelling cloud option to AWS.

Once rivals, Microsoft and Oracle joined forces in 2019 to link their respective clouds through an enhanced cloud collaboration that combines Oracle and Microsoft technologies. Customers can now migrate to the cloud or build new applications leveraging Oracle Cloud and Microsoft Azure with seamless interoperability.

As times goes by, we will see more of these partnerships across all levels.

 

5.  Who needs a server?

Serverless computing at its core means that functions only operate when triggered, and users only pay for what they use. So, instead of running a long running server instance that consumes resources and money, serverless computing only runs when and if needed. It also helps to reduce cloud infrastructure complexity.

Two types of serverless computing:

Function as a service (FaaS): Hosting environment where the developer’s code is deployed and the server automatically runs it.

Backend as a service (BaaS): Automates backend development and manages the cloud infrastructure.

 

Serverless computing means NOT running a server, virtual or otherwise, to execute a function as part of a modern application stack – IT PRO Today

 

In the past few years, serverless computing capabilities have expanded, largely thanks to AWS and Google. This innovative technology means that companies do not have to spend time, money and resources on managing their servers, but instantly gain all the features and functionalities, in a cost-effective manner.

In 2021, more and more companies will go serverless as a way to control costs while remaining focused on delivering quality solutions and services. As part of a digital transformation strategy, companies will design and develop applications using the serverless model – changing how applications are developed.

 

 

Another Step In The Journey

As you can see, implementing cloud computing is just the start of the journey. In our never-ending road towards progress and evolution, we must remain open to exploring new avenues. Watch out for these and other cloud computing trends in 2021 and beyond.

What are the cloud trends that will affect you most? Share your thoughts.

 

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