Digital Transformation to the Public Cloud
The global shift towards digital transformation is not slowing down. Tech research companies expect the spending on digitalization to double the amount spent in 2018 by 2021. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the public cloud services market grew 26% with revenues totaling $233.4 billion in 2019 alone.
Digital transformation was propelled even further this year with much of the world seeking to pivot online to cope with the global pandemic. One particular aspect of digital transformation that saw an exponential increase was cloud migration. According to Forrester, an American market research company, top cloud service providers experienced dramatic growth in the first quarter of 2020. Microsoft Azure experienced 59% growth, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) experienced 52%, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) saw 34% growth.
Before the pandemic hit, “Enterprises talked about cloud journeys of up to ten years,” said Rick Villars, group president of the Worldwide Research at IDC. “Enterprises are now looking to complete the shift within less than half that time.” as business challenges and the economic landscape continue to change due to the current global crisis.
Regardless of circumstances, however, digital transformation to the public cloud is becoming more compelling as it offers many business advantages.
Here are the top benefits of digital information to the public cloud:
1. Simplified and continued operations
Public cloud providers offer and maintain frameworks where enterprises can streamline their operational processes. With the public cloud, users can access data in real-time. This is most advantageous for users that are situated in different parts of the globe. They do not have to converge at mutually convenient times as updates are automatically reflected in their work and data. Through public cloud use, enterprises can foster a time and labor efficient work setup and sidestep unnecessary and excessive costs in the process.
2. Increased business agility
Optimum speed and accuracy are prized most in business operations. When an enterprise has quick access to real-time data, it can improve its data gathering and analysis ability. It understands its own internal workings better and how these impact its position in the market. With the public cloud, enterprises can quickly determine what modifications or new initiatives are needed to improve their business structure. It can also identify and get rid of redundancies that slow its system down. This all results in seamless and dynamic interactions within the organization.
3. Enhanced client relationships
Data gathering and machine learning are inherent in the public cloud. Enterprises can access and take advantage of customer segment data and leverage it to improve their products and services. Being able to segment data, they can have a more accurate understanding of their market, enabling them to devise responsive initiatives, ensuring customer satisfaction. They can also make informed business decisions at quicker rates. These abilities allow enterprises to enhance their business viability in the market.
4. No on-site maintenance
Public cloud service providers are responsible for maintaining the hardware, software, and networks in the cloud. This frees enterprises from worrying about infrastructure maintenance and updates. This also decreases, even eliminates, the need for IT staff. As enterprises do not need to purchase or maintain on-site hardware, the public cloud allows them to save on office floor space, cutting both employee and facility costs. The regular updates and maintenance supplied by cloud providers also allow organizations to access IT’s latest technologies, such as machine learning and AI.
5. Pay-per-usage deals
Public cloud service providers offer flexible pricing structures, giving organizations several options to choose from. This benefit is most useful to startup companies and SMEs who usually have basic business needs. They can avail themselves of the cloud services they need without committing to the higher fixed costs of bulkier deals full of features they don’t yet need.
Pay-per-usage deals also make it possible for enterprises to forego long-term contracts. As the economic climate remains volatile, enterprises aren’t enthusiastic about embarking on long-standing contracts. Having the option of paying only for their current IT needs is what they usually prefer the most to reallocate already limited financial resources during this difficult time.
Utilizing the public cloud in business modernizes any company’s IT infrastructure. There are now industries that use the public cloud as foundational to their operations. In fact, even before the global pandemic hit, there had been a considerable number of companies that adopted cloud-based infrastructure. The health crisis only made it more imperative for the rest to make these shifts due to the abrupt economic changes.
Due to shifting to the public cloud, companies can now focus on optimizing their services and create improved digital customer experiences, all while reducing costs.
Adopting the Public Cloud
For companies that are ready to push forward into digitally transforming their businesses, options are plenty. But digital transformation isn’t without its risks. Fortunately, there are many resources available to mitigate the risk of adopting a public cloud-based infrastructure.
To get started, a company will need first to identify their reasons for shifting to a cloud-based infrastructure, assess how they will integrate it into their business, and then implement it.
Businesses must also consider which cloud-based infrastructure is best to fit their needs. The following are the three main types with their corresponding functions and purpose:
1. SaaS (Software as a Service)
This is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications that users can use online. With these, users can access and process data over the Internet without the need to maintain separate software or on-site servers. This kind of model is largely used in retail systems that help merchants with order management, inventory synchronization, and product information management.
SaaS can also help the pharmaceutical industry in particular by streamlining workflow. This software can help pharmacies enhance the quality, consistency, and speed of delivering medicine to the market. It can also help them accurately keep track of their inventory and demand curve projections.
Healthcare providers can also take advantage of SaaS. They can use cloud voice, video, and chat services to provide their patients with necessary medical assistance without having to conduct in-person meet-ups. This allows for the much-needed prompt interaction between healthcare providers and patients.
2. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
This is a public cloud model where a third-party provider hosts servers, storage, and other virtualized computing resources. Enterprises can use this model in testing, developing, and introducing applications to the market faster. With IaaS, enterprises can collect and analyze big data, helping them produce plausible predictions, such as in financial modeling.
Organizations in the financial sector such as banks, investment companies, insurance companies, and real estate firms can leverage this model by collecting data that can help them in stock market forecasts, risk analysis, and fraud detection and prevention, among others. With a better insight on how the financial and economic climate can shift, financial organizations are better equipped to create a more resilient and reliable system by using IaaS.
3. PaaS (Platform as a Service)
In this type of model, a third-party provider supplies application development platforms and tools on its own infrastructure and allows users to build or customize cloud-based applications. PaaS provides the infrastructure that IaaS does with the addition of middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, and database management systems, among others. PaaS goes a notch higher than IaaS and SaaS as it supports the complete web application cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating applications. Users have full control over the applications and services they develop on the platform.
SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS offer different levels of control for users. For IaaS users, they can create virtual machines, install operating systems, and manage cloud networking configurations. On the other hand, SaaS and PaaS users have more limited controls as the provider completely manages these models.
In selecting what model is suitable, an enterprise must first identify the business structure it plans to build and then specify what organizational objectives it wants to realize with these services’ help.
Data Privacy and Security in Digital Transformation
Many enterprises are making the move towards digital transformation due to the promised business agility and cost savings. However, data privacy and security remains a fundamental issue when it comes to such a shift. In fact, organizations that are data-sensitive typically select private clouds to have a better security guarantee.
However, equipped with experienced and skilled IT engineers, modern public cloud service providers are taking on serious efforts to keep public cloud frameworks secure. They usually offer cloud security, including access control, workload security, privacy, compliance, etc. These services place increased monitoring activity, vulnerability scanning, advanced threat protection to their users, among others.
Precautionary Measures in Data Migration
Embracing the public cloud could be the line standing between a company and its digital transformation. Still, it’s important to highlight the need for careful planning within the company’s switchover systems and data centers before this can take place. Mistakes in the early to mid-stages of strategizing and misallocating resources can risk major disruptions for any business that fails to do the proper research before taking action on these digitalization initiatives.