The coronavirus pandemic has proved a crisis for business, but changes in business practices, even when forced, can provide a window of opportunity. Triangle Computer Services, specialists in cloud, virtualisation and server consolidation have seen this first hand.
Central to this has been adoption of cloud computing platforms.
“Innovation, like invention, is best driven by necessity. While every CIO has a structured, planned roadmap of innovation to drive their business, there is nothing to replace a crisis to kick start execution,” Donal Byrne, director of technology at Triangle, said.
Indeed, Flexera research has found that 57 per cent of companies expect higher than planned cloud usage in 2020, in response to Covid-19 and a further 47 per cent rise in cloud spend, in 2021.
“I think we need to look at the different aspects of cloud to address this question”.
More broadly, the changes have been surprising. Businesses have pulled back from office space, as they saw working from home drive increases in productivity: “Billing hours in their world.”
Likewise, banks push more investment into mobile mortgage teams, as they were underwriting more business than the tradition channels.
“This was supported by cloud technology applied to clear use cases,” said Byrne.
But use cases are precisely the point: a rush to adopt technology for its own sake is not a road any business should go down.
Instead, working out what are the objectives and then surveying the various technologies – public cloud, private cloud, a hybrid of cloud and on-premise or multiple clouds.
Byrne said that SMEs in particular have been provided with opportunities to develop services and business processes that were hitherto the domain of large enterprises.
“Private cloud has allowed for really smart use cases accessible ‘as a service’ to businesses that would never have invested in the on-premise version of this,” he said.
At the enterprise level, meanwhile, including the public sector, existing investment in legacy systems is an important factor.
“If you look broadly across the IT market from SME to enterprise and public sector then, yes, you are going to see enough examples of everything to convince yourself that everyone is on some stage of the journey. We focus primarily at the enterprise layer and there are still significant investments in data centre infrastructure – albeit highly optimised and complemented by private cloud”.
Byrne said that at this level there is also interest in public cloud for functional requirements such as disaster recovery and testing and development.
“Cloud-native will obviously drive adoption as it’s a case of ‘if I was starting again where would I start’,” he said.
The most obvious area of cloud adoption is software-as-a-service (SaaS), but Byrne said that infrastructure-as-a-serve (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) are also being adopted.
“The second, less clear, aspect of Cloud adoption in the pandemic is not focused on SaaS, but on IaaS and PaaS.
Less visible than SaaS such as Office365 or Salesforce, this in fact may prove to be more of a change in core business IT.
“I think there are a few angles to this. I think good old-fashioned operational functions such as DR [disaster recovery] and business continuity came into view during the pandemic.
“Not that Covid posed any direct threat to your ability to recover your IT systems, but it did spook all owners of a risk register within a business and threw into question every aspect of continuity – [asking] can we keep the show on the road in the face of a pandemic,” Byrne said.