Cloud Agility: Meeting Business Needs During a Pandemic

An article by James Farhat, ACTS CEO

The proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” fits very well in the current pandemic scenario. As the world fights against Covid-19, organizations are seeking the best ways to overcome difficulties and barriers to become more resilient going forward.  The need to become more agile than ever before, has led to widespread adoption of cloud technology. Cloud agility is the best antidote to many challenges posed by this major disruption allowing companies to rapidly scale at will to meet the needs of their organization whether that be focusing on security, monitoring, analysis or any other major business needs.

Drawing the Economic Parallels Between Covid-19 & Spanish Flu

Those familiar with the history of pandemics are aware of the devastation caused by the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920. As we react to today’s pandemic, we harken back to the Spanish Flu as both brought the world to a standstill. Researchers are drawing on what is known about the Spanish Flu to aid them in understanding today’s virus, how to treat those infected by it, and how to find a vaccine to prevent its lethal effects.

Both the Spanish flu and Covid-19 have proven to be catastrophic to the economy. Like the modern-day pandemic, Spanish Flu had a severe impact on businesses dependent on foot traffic. As cities were forced to adopt social distancing as a way to contain the spread of the virus, it became normal to ban large gatherings, to close schools, churches, and require people to wear face coverings in public. The effect on a variety of business was devastating and that carried over to workers. Merchants lost businesses, industrial production growth slowed dramatically, and unemployment skyrocketed. As the Spanish Flu took place during the wake of a World War it makes some of the economic effects difficult to discern, making it difficult to calculate the precise economic impact of the Spanish Flu.

Changing Dynamics of the Pandemics

Although the nature of these pandemics bear resemblance to each other, the rate of change in the world today is exponential and impacts all facets of society, making the global impact of Covid-19 much different than the Spanish Flu.

The major change here is the structure of the current global economy, much of which is dominated by the service sector. As the largest sector of the world economy, generating 63% of the total global wealth, the industries most impacted by Covid-19 include airlines, casino, auto parts and equipment, and oil and gas drilling.

The Secret Sauce of The Modern Businesses Is Agility

The adoption of cloud technologies has become crucial for the success of modern businesses with a heavy reliance on their ability to be agile and elastic. Organizations that are prepared for any disaster and have a business continuity model in place, are poised to be successful in these uncertain and rapidly changing times.

When the pandemic unfolded, many found they were not prepared to find alternate strategies to run their operations. The blow was devastating for businesses in the early stages of embracing the technological revolution. As countries went under lock down, many found the need to move to remote working conditions where data and accessibility, but this became a significant challenge for those that had not adopted cloud technology.

In this era of industrial revolution 4.0, cloud technology has become a must-have. According to a survey conducted by Flexera, more than 50% of the respondents said that their cloud usage is expected to go beyond what was initially planned. They expect their cloud expenditure to go up by 47% over the next 12 months. This increase can be attributed to the need for extra capacity for their cloud-based applications to meet the demand of enhanced online usage. Other reasons why cloud usage has grown include: reduction in headcount, trouble in accessing data center facilities and impediments in hardware supply chains.

The new world created by Covid-19 demands new capabilities and cost optimization. For instance, remote work can be done optimally only with the help of technologies such as cloud, virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over internet protocols (VoIPs), virtual meetings, and work collaboration tools. Remote work also requires that organizations move from local data centers to cloud data storage capabilities. In terms of cost optimization, Gartner predicts most of the legacy applications will have migrated to public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) by 2024, the most cost-effective architecture to deliver optimal performance.

The adoption of cloud technology allows businesses to scale efficiently, expand their infrastructure and capabilities at a lower

cost, have better customer support, and produce flexible work environments. In addition to these, cloud offers better security features and disaster recovery plans vis-à-vis other IT infrastructures.

Organizations across the world were steadily adopting cloud technologies before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Currently, 81% of companies comprising 1,000 or more employees, have a multi-platform strategy, with this number slated to go beyond 90% by 2024. It would not be surprising if this trend continues as Covid-19 has exposed many IT vulnerabilities. Now is the time for businesses across the globe to devise an agile strategy that secures business continuity without waiting for another disaster.

Figure 1 https://www.globaldots.com/blog/cloud-computing-benefits

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