The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the initiatives by CIOs to move enterprise software and business processes onto the cloud. Instead, they shifted their priority to cloud infrastructure to support remote work. Their focus was to make their businesses work on the cloud.

Now that remote work is in place and working well, CIOs are returning their focus to their longer-term strategic programs. They’re now looking at ways to leverage the cloud’s capabilities to do their work in new and better ways.

The Pandemic Forced CIOs to Adopt a Cloud Strategy

Gartner recently said it expects in 2021 that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow to $332 billion, a 23.1 percent increase from 2020. This rate is faster than the 19% growth in 2020. “The events of last year allowed CIOs to overcome any reluctance of moving mission-critical workloads from on-premises to the cloud,” said Sid Nag, a Gartner research vice president. “The pandemic made many of those data centers literally shut down so that technicians could not enter the buildings. CIOs were compelled to move those workloads into the cloud, and they found that many of their fears were unfounded, so they kept them there.” 

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Barry Shurkey, CIO at global IT consulting firm NTT Data Corp., said, “Beyond reducing costs, AI and automation provide the opportunity to improve outcomes and eliminate waste… I see my cloud budget at least doubling in ’21.”

In 2020, Gartner found software as a service (SaaS) reached $103 billion, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) grew to $59 billion. While the growth in IaaS will slow slightly in 2022, Gartner still expects it to grow by more than 30 percent.

2021 Will See Cloud Strategy Incorporate Cloud-Native Tools

According to Nag, where 2020 was the year to move existing enterprise software to the cloud to support remote work, 2021 will see organizations exploiting the unique capabilities of cloud computing to their full potential. Designing new business processes around the cloud will unlock competitive advantage for organizations through enhanced efficiency, expanded operations monitoring, and more detailed analytics.

CIOs in 2021 and 2022 will look to incorporate AI, real-time analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and other data-intensive, computing-hungry technologies into their operations on cloud platforms. This adoption of emerging technologies requires retooling their enterprise applications with cloud-native tools like containers, microservices, and Kubernetes.

The more advanced these technologies, the more likely CIOs are to choose multi-cloud infrastructure to match each cloud vendor’s strengths to their various needs. “The landscape that’s emerging is workloads that are extremely complex and require multiple clouds and not the average garden-variety ERP,” Nag said.

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Cloud Strategy Means More Demand for Cloud Computing Talent

The net result of this trend is that CIOs will need a lot more skilled cloud computing professionals. Besides recruiting from those who have completed cloud computing certification programs, CIOs will also need to send their existing staff to cloud computing upskilling programs to meet their staffing needs. One such program is the Post Graduate Program in Cloud Computing offered by Caltech CTME in partnership with Simplilearn.

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