24 Sep 2020 18:27 IST

Pandemic sees accelerated growth and adoption of cloud tech

It was a clutch of cloud operators that ensured smooth functioning of many apps such as Netflix and Zoom

In the wake of the pandemic, front-end applications such as Netflix, Zoom, Slack, and many others played a significant role in easing consumers’, and businesses, the movement to the new normal. They were lauded for stepping up to smoothen our transition to the virtual world. Not many recognised that behind the scenes cloud operators such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure were providing the infrastructure needed for these web applications to run smoothly.

The cloud has proven to be an unsung hero during the pandemic. From tech giants, e-commerce and health to education, business reliance on the cloud for support, and infrastructure is unprecedented. Such that cloud providers have grown to be the few rare benefactors of today’s pandemic-disrupted economy.

Did you know that AWS saw a 29 per cent higher Q2 revenue in 2020 than 2019, Google a 43 per cent rise, and Microsoft 30 per cent in their respective cloud services revenue over last year? Going by this current trend, the cloud industry is sure to look back fondly on the global pandemic as it proved to be a catalyst for their growth, and large scale adoption.

Relevance of cloud

As soon as the pandemic started, businesses were forced to virtualise their entire operations, pause their travels, and contend with remote teams. All this raised unique challenges, which were soon addressed with the cloud’s utility-like IT services. The ongoing pandemic with no end in sight is a clear indication that this dependency is not going away any time soon. Post-pandemic businesses will do well to improve their digital infrastructure as the future shows all signs of being a much-more digitally transformed landscape.

The rapid tread of technology, numerous innovations, and the rising number of businesses embracing digital are examples of this trend. It is imperative that businesses start to prioritise their IT spending on enhancing their cloud security, improving their cloud-native applications, and multi-cloud management.

Critical need for cloud talent

Organisations are going to prioritise becoming more agile, efficient, and resilient and this can happen only when they do away with their legacy systems, operations, and embrace a more digital, data-driven approach, and infrastructure. Technologies, especially advanced cloud, are going to be at the forefront of this revolution, and drive this organisational shift. Businesses navigating the post-Covid world would be continuing with their best practices of today, some of which are developing virtual teams, using technologies to improve their organisation-wide practices and bolstering their digital infrastructure to cut operational costs, and increase efficiency. All this necessitates the need for skilled talent in Cloud, AI, ML, and RPA who will be needed to address cloud security gaps, innovate, and to come up with unique solutions to address complex problems of the post-pandemic era.

Growing skills gap

This leads to my next point. Do we have enough talent to accommodate this demand? Studies show that globally we have a widening skills gap in emerging technologies like cloud computing, AI, ML, IOT, and RPA, with cloud figuring at the top. As a result, the demand for these professionals is on the rise. Unless it is met, it will prove to be a hindrance to the organisation's next-gen digitisation.

While there are enough IT professionals, the future is not going to be led by them. The need of the hour is to develop specialised and advanced skill sets. Employers can facilitate this by upskilling the cream of their talent in these much-needed areas, instil a continuous learning culture in organisations, and retain top talent by making organisations more employee-centric.

(The writer is CEO and Founder, SpringPeople, an IT  training provider.)