The past 18 months have brought a stronger, widespread reliance on cloud services worldwide. Many organizations have shifted to the cloud permanently to support their remote workforces, and this shift has helped the technology become deeply embedded into everyday modern business operations.
As we head into the new year and approach the two-year mark of the pandemic, businesses will become even more integrated with the cloud. No longer will the top question be -- "How do I migrate my business to the cloud?" or "Is the cloud the best option for me?" Instead, experienced and savvy organizations will ask, "How can I tailor the cloud to best meet and surpass my business goals?"
With greater adoption and broader reliance, businesses will perceive the cloud less as new and novel and instead a technology essential to how we conduct everyday work. This will lead to the cloud industry becoming more multifaceted and complex. As we close out 2020 and look into ringing in another year, outlined below are my top predictions for the cloud in 2022:
More companies will use a single vendor for various cloud applications. Instead of using multiple vendors for different cloud-based services, businesses will gravitate toward utilizing one vendor for various cloud-based programs and capabilities. Prominent tech vendors like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are structuring their cloud offerings under one overarching umbrella, positioning themselves as a one-stop shop for all cloud needs. Microsoft, for example, offers multiple cloud-based apps that are interconnected into everyday business use within Office 365 (OneDrive, Teams, and more). However, this trend isn’t just for prominent tech vendors - smaller cloud vendors will also start to position themselves as a one-stop-shop of cloud-based solutions. And larger vendors will look to acquire smaller vendors specializing in a single app to help build out their overall tech stack.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) will increase in importance. Sustainability, worker rights, and corporate responsibility have become vital issues for a global business in any industry, be it the cloud, tech, or other fields. How a company responds to these issues is critical to its corporate reputation. Those businesses with growing footprints will be under a more critical eye regarding their sustainability and social practices. In 2022, stakeholders will consider investing in companies with reputable technology and a positive track record with environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policies. Vendors will be watched and judged on their brand values and actions – as in, how do they respond to social causes? Do they have eco-friendly sustainability goals? How do they treat employees, and how is morale?Sustainable funds exist so that investors can contribute to companies that achieve high ESG scores. Investments and capital will follow those companies that incorporate an ESG strategy into long-term business planning.
The approach to data management and security will shift. The cloud has helped the world become more interconnected and, in some ways, has blurred the borders between countries. However, that digital connection doesn’t mean moving data across boundaries is seamless. As more companies rely on the cloud, IT teams will need to evolve and broaden their perception of security and risk management related to data sovereignty. Data sovereignty regulations vary across countries and borders. Global companies looking to migrate data must adopt a greater focus on meeting compliance rules; before beginning any migration, IT teams must consider and ensure that these regulations can be met. The global regulatory fragmentation will likely result in new regional cloud ecosystems to keep data within a given region during a migration.
Government organizations will continue to invest in the cloud. Although somewhat late to the game compared to the private sector, government agencies have made headway in the public cloud. During the pandemic,many agencies moved varying workloads or operations to the cloud, and as the cloud becomes more integral to everyday operations, agencies will further leverage it in 2022. For example, during the pandemic, Microsoft provided the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) special access to collaboration tool Microsoft Teams free of charge to enable doctors to communicate and exchange data easily. The mass adoption of Teams within NHS ultimately enabled the tool to become ingrained into daily NHS operations and communications. As government agencies are significant users of data and computing, the transition to the cloud will continue to make good sense. Public cloud providers will look to accommodate their needs by building and managing government-oriented cloud environments and expanding their cloud offerings to government organizations.
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Manoj Kalyanaraman is vice president of product and engineering at BitTitan, where he leads product strategy and execution of MigrationWiz and is site leader of BitTitan’s research and development center in Singapore. Manoj has over 20 years of experience in leading global product teams and setting up innovation centers in APAC and the U.S. His areas of expertise include product strategy, cloud, mobile, architecture, digital transformation, and organizational leadership.