HERE AT THE START of the new year, we look cautiously ahead as we emerge from the significant changes of the past 20 months. For various reasons and circumstances, including impacts from the pandemic, the last two years have propelled a stronger and more widespread dependance on cloud services and technologies than ever before, as companies worldwide continue to rely on remote workforces. How organizations of all sizes leverage the cloud and its offerings going forward into the new year will continue to deepen and transform.
We have witnessed firsthand emerging trends in cloud adoption and how companies are using cloud technologies to enable digital transformation and a modern workplace. Here are four predictions about the year ahead.
1. Hegemony of cloud applications
We are headed down the path of growing ecosystems where Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and other prominent SaaS players will begin offering multiple capabilities under each of their ever-expansive umbrellas. As more companies adopt the cloud, there’s a gravitational pull toward using a sole vendor that can provide many applications. Where a company once focused its offerings on email and personal drive, there is now a push for capabilities around Teams, Power BI, and a growing trend to be a part of a broader cloud ecosystem. Larger vendors will look to acquire single-app vendors to build out their tech stack and become a one-stop shop for applications, leading to consolidation of the app market.
2. The shift in data management and security
From the old-school days of on-premises software, which offered a high degree of data control and management, the shift to the cloud is forcing IT teams to evolve their thinking on policies necessary for managing security. Many questions must be addressed for effective security: Can companies rely on a single cloud tenant, or do they need multiple tenants? Do they need to consider a regional cloud ecosystem to meet data sovereignty regulations?
Data sovereignty continues to be a priority for global companies launching migrations and moving data to the cloud. Legislation and legalities around data sovereignty vary by country and region. Increasing geopolitical regulatory fragmentation, protectionism, and industry compliance will continue to drive the creation of new regional and vertical cloud ecosystems and data services.
3. Emerging ESG awareness
There is a rising importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) awareness and new risks if business leaders don’t factor it into business planning. Slightly ahead of its curve, perhaps, but an ESG strategy can influence who invests in your company—and who doesn’t. Companies must consider stakeholder interest in their long-term planning.
Stakeholders are increasingly monitoring a company's track record regarding sustainability, corporate governance, and responding to social causes. In turn, these stakeholders invest in companies with strong ESG scores, reflecting how well the company upholds its core values and how it treats its employees. Businesses that don’t factor an ESG strategy into their planning risk falling behind their competitors.