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Enterprise technology leaders met to debate the state of cloud technology in the wake of a newly remote workforce. What does this mean for the next decade of the solution?

Are we entering a new decade of cloud technology? The pandemic has perhaps taught us that cloud technology was more necessary than even its proponents thought. Regardless of where you are in your cloud journey, what is the next challenge you need it to solve?

Background

In 2021 cloud technology was one of the most Googled solutions for enterprise technology teams as they sought ways to cater to a new, large remote workforce. This rapid digitalization of services included quick migrations to the cloud, often turning a five-year-plan to migrate into a three month decision. Such was the scale of this trend that in at least five instances across the major vendors, cloud services dropped and vendors were forced themselves to reconsider the demand for cloud. 

What is most interesting however is that this is happening over 10 years after the industry was promised its “era of cloud technology”. Many technology leaders can remember the solutions promised then, and what they are utilizing today. Speed, automation, efficiency and others are well-versed examples of the gains to be made, but cost is still an issue. Vendors also had competitive differentiators in terms of the services they had perfected, whereas as the decade progressed, these services all became equi-deliverable; it has become harder to say which vendor is best at what cloud service. Has the remote workforce unintentionally activated the real decade of cloud?

In this HotTopics.ht Technology Leaders Meetup, marketing leaders debated the question, and compared and contrasted their needs and expectations:

Are we entering a new decade of cloud technology? The pandemic has perhaps taught us that cloud technology was more necessary than even its proponents thought. Regardless of where you are in your cloud journey, what is the next challenge you need it to solve?

Thank you to Jacqui Lipinski, CIO and Director of Digital & Technical Services, Royal College of Arts and Nick Reeks, Director IT, Tata Steel, for your opening remarks and your reflections on the cloud roundtables you both spoke on at The Studio, on October 14.

Summary of debate

  • The multi cloud strategy solution is the dominant solution for enterprise technology leaders; one single cloud provider does not provide the flexibility or competitiveness that leaders are seeking, and the range of options and solutions now means technology teams can build a “jigsaw puzzle” cloud strategy that satisfies both the CEO and CFO.
  • Legacy data is still a challenge for modernization programs. Some legacy falls into the category of too confidential or important to keep off-premise, whilst other legacy is simply too old or complex to move to the cloud swiftly. It can also be a challenge to work out in which camp one’s legacy falls, but the group was in agreement that this must be first tackled before you perfect a mutli-cloud strategy. 
  • Definitions of the cloud were also challenged: Infrastructure and platform cloud was compared to newer software as a service models, with the latter being the more popular choice for services, while keeping product-based concepts to cloud. 
  • Some leaders mentioned how SAAS models can increase shadow IT instances, a clear security threat. The main cause for concern were how data flows through channels, what channels were being used and how to make this a more transparent state.
  • Data governance and compliance are other must needs in a cloud plan, especially when dealing with multiple vendors and stakeholders all with their own governance. Although it was noted that having data or services in the cloud can sometimes bypass region or national laws on data and governance.
  • The new decade of cloud technology will be defined by partnerships and how vendors understand a customer’s challenges and aims; as there is less differentiation between vendors, customers will have the power to interview vendors and choose the one best aligned to their mission and needs.
  • The CFO still requires firm evidence of the value of cloud, so ensure a request is heavily detailed on that value—but don’t make the mistake of saying it’s cheaper than on premise, “it isn’t”. Cloud technology is a subscription cost that can be more expensive on paper, but because of its integration capabilities, agility, speed and more, the business benefit results in a net saving.

Enjoy debate with your fellow enterprise technology leaders in our monthly virtual debates and join the LinkedIn community today.

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