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As 2021 sees spend and migration levels to the cloud rise,…..

…….companies cannot get caught in the new found wave of enthusiasm and confidence in the tech

Gartner predicts spend on public cloud will be $332.3billion in 2021, but mass migration to cloud environments are not right for all by AJ Thompson , CCO Northdoor plc

As has been widely acknowledged the pandemic has seen a shift in the pace of technology adoption across the globe. The acceleration has allowed companies to continue working throughout the huge disruption caused by the move to different work practices.

As lockdown began, companies rushed to implement technology quickly, short circuiting normal procurement processes and making decisions on purchases that might have otherwise taken several months. On the whole, many of these solutions worked well for companies. Most businesses were able to continue to operate in some form or another during the course of lockdown.

The urgency of the situation meant that many had to put their concerns about the cloud in particular aside. The pandemic has done much to reassure those with doubts about the effectiveness and security of cloud technologies. This has resulted in a surge of interest and migration to cloud environments. Some reports indicate that over half of European IT outsourcing spend will soon be on cloud services, which is up considerably on previous years.

Backing this up is Gartner’s prediction that spend on public cloud will increase to $332.3bn by the end of 2021, again a massive jump from previous years highlighting the increase in popularity and confidence in cloud technologies.

 Make sure cloud migration is right for you

Whilst, the acceleration of cloud trends over the past couple of years has to be a good thing for businesses and the IT industry alike, it is important to keep our feet on the ground.

All too often companies buy-in to a tech trend because they feel they have to in order to keep up with competitors, or at least feel like they are not missing out. Migrating data and infrastructure to the cloud can have huge benefits, but that is not the case for every business.

If you were to listen to some IT vendors and consultancies you might believe that a full and immediate migration is what all companies need to do in order to recognise the cost savings and efficiencies delivered by the cloud. That is frankly not the case.

Many companies find that that grass is not always greener on the other side. The positive aspects of setting up cloud environments can also represent a negative for some companies. The speed and convenience of setting up new resources in the cloud means that it is sometimes too easy for companies to lose control – replacing fixed in-house capital costs with spiralling external operational costs.

 Quicker IT procurement has positive and negatives

The trend of rapidly implementing technology to give a quick fix to a particular problem has turned normal IT procurement practice on its head.

Instead of months of due diligence and procurement procedure companies have been forced into making quick decisions. This has been a real positive for some sectors. The public sector for example has been able to take advantage of innovative solutions that have made a real difference to the day-to-day front-line practice and circumnavigating some of the notoriously long procurement cycles.

C-levels executives may have gained a new-found belief and confidence in technology and their organisation’s ability to quickly procure and implement solutions, but throwing caution to the wind has the potential disaster.

A balance has to be found between reassured and confident senior decision makers and a level of due diligence that ensure the company remains compliant to regulation, that the solution is the correct one for the business and that it is not going to cause huge disruption to existing infrastructure and your workforce.

 Taking a hybrid approach to cloud migration

To reduce the risk of spiralling costs companies should be looking at a hybrid approach to their cloud migration. This gives a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario for businesses. Not only does it allow companies to tap into the new-found enthusiasm and trust that has grown over the past two years, but it means it is not an all or nothing venture.

Taking a step back and considering what data is suitable for an immediate migration and what other, perhaps business critical, data can be kept on premise is important. It allows companies to ensure that they are happy with the migration and security levels whilst not putting business critical data at a perceived risk.

This gradual, hybrid approach gives companies a real opportunity to look at cloud migration without it spiralling out of control. It also means for those companies in highly regulated sectors, data is kept on premise, ensuring adherence.

Increasingly, the option to have cloud like payment options for on premise servers means that some of the pricing benefits of migration can be realised within the existing server set-up.

 Look to outside support

The new level of interest and support for technology has meant that IT departments are now under more scrutiny than ever before. It also means that they are under real pressure to make recommendations and decisions quickly. Many are turning to outside, vendor agnostic consultancies to help drive the IT procurement in the right direction.

Outside expertise can help guide and back-up decisions as well as offering sector experience that can ensure that you remain within regulatory boundaries. It will also mean having an extension to your team, no matter how big or small that might be. It allows in-house teams to carry on with other critical day-to-day activity whilst also ensuring that board level appetite for technology is realised.

The last two years has changed the face of IT forever. It is more recognised than ever as a crucial business tool, rather than something that lurks in the basement of a building. This should be absolutely seen as a positive. Equally, making a rushed decision on a piece of IT can have hugely damaging impact on the business as a whole and the reputation of the IT department, taking it back to where it was pre-pandemic.

The next few years mark a real opportunity for IT teams to make a giant step forward. It is an opportunity that the whole sector should be looking to take advantage of and with outside support, IT teams can be confident that they are moving in the right direction.

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