Cloud services have been steadily gaining in popularity since the early 2000s, and with good reason, they provide dynamic, cost-effective solutions for companies operating in a global marketplace.
What is the cloud?
Cloud computing is a commonly used term for software and services that exist, run and are accessed on the internet rather than being hosted on servers or even individual machines.
The benefits of the cloud:
- Reduced costs – no hardware costs, maintenance and labour
- Flexibility and scalability – the ability to scale the number of users or data quickly
- Remote access – access data, services and software from anywhere, with any device with an internet connection
- Simple integration – intelligent APIs and data connections
- Security – Always updating to use the latest data security methods
- Automatic software updates to ensure the best user experience and latest features with little to
no interruption to services and no degradation of capabilities
- Fast data recovery and backup
- Environmental benefits – virtual services reduce the need for physical hardware and unnecessary travel
- Contactless working – remote collaboration, no data silos or physical barriers
- No physical installation - accessed through the internet there is no need to install capacity-sapping software on servers and every user's device
Whilst cloud software and services have been celebrated for their seamless integrations, quick installations and reduced running costs, a new feature has become the pivotal factor to its newfound success – its remote, contactless capabilities.
The impact of COVID on the cloud
Soaring market value
Published before to the spread of COVID-19 beyond Chinese borders, Market reports predicted the fortunes of the global cloud computing market based on a steady increase in adoption. Market Study Report LLC estimated the market to be worth $62,730 million US dollars with an expectation to grow by an impressive CAGR of 29.2% and reach $383780 million US dollars for 2019-2024.
However, figures had already been dramatically altered by April 2020 with Grand View Research estimating values at $266.0 million increasing by a CAGR of 14.9% over the period of 2020-2027 to hit a staggering $808 million. Whilst Allied Market Research valued the cloud services market at $264.80 billion in 2019 with a predicted growth of $927.51 billion by 2027.
By August, with the impact of the pandemic at its height, ResearchAndMarkets.com’s report predicted continued increases in market value as the industry on a global scale continued to work remotely, scale remote functionality, and build continued resilience.
Whilst the research parameters show varied starting points for the value of the market, the predicted value increases of each report show a rapid climb in adoption, investment and overall market value.
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has created a surge in cloud-based software and services demand as an unprecedented variety of businesses looked to the cloud to enable their teams to continue working.
Those that had already integrated cloud services and software into their day-to-day processes had a head start on those who were heavily reliant on onsite, manual working. Existing standardised procedures enabled a quick switch to remote output much quicker than competitors. Plus, already having the structure in place, they could focus on employee-focused additions to their cloud suite such as well-being, and collaboration products. At least 15% of additional cloud purchases have been accredited to the pandemic.
“51% of UK business leaders say their shift to a cloud computing-based business model has saved their company from collapse during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Companies that had not expected to consider cloud products in their IT planning for the foreseeable future had to pivot, fast.
The scale of the overnight pivot is demonstrated by the large increase in the use of video conferencing software since the lockdown (March 2020 to date) as Zoom saw a 667% growth, and Microsoft Teams achieved an 894% increase. I’m guessing these are YoY…
Whilst the urgency to use cloud technologies to enable employees to work from home during lockdown was a steep learning curve for many, the ease of integration and interaction of cloud services has proven critical to their survival.
Less technically savvy businesses have surprised themselves with their ability to adapt, use new technology, and continue to work in a completely different way. The necessity for action outweighs the resistance to change. Now this obstacle has been passed, it is very likely that cloud software and services will continue to play a part in future business strategy.
The cloud post-COVID
“From a technology standpoint, cloud is very much an unsung hero in the fight against Covid-19, as the pandemic marks the start of a new era for the technology’s adoption.”
A game-changing pivot
The pandemic has been a catalyst for cloud software and services adoption with Microsoft reporting two years of digital transformation in two months. The acceleration coupled with the positive results of cloud-based working has arguably shifted global IT strategies permanently.
As a result of the move to cloud services, IT spending in 2020 is down $300 billion, an 8% decline, with the hardest hit being hardware investments. Most of that budget, 6.3%, is being reallocated to cloud-based services and software, a figure that is expected to increase over the next five years. Gartner predicts 45% of IT budgets will be dedicated to moving traditional solutions to the cloud by 2024.
Remote and contactless working
With the benefits of reduced travel, lower office costs, and lower running costs of cloud software and services, a return to the previous busy single-workplace based 9 to 5 may be very slow if it happens at all. Workers are seeing the upside of a better work-life balance and through the lack of geographic restrictions employers are enjoying access to a much wider talent pool than ever before.
Remote and contactless installation and onboarding
Unlike its physical, onsite counterparts, cloud software and services can be installed, integrated, trained, and maintained without a single onsite visit. Its remote, contactless management is key to its success in a world increasingly quarantined and segmented by local and national responses to COVID.
Once integrated into each business, it will be hard to imagine a workplace without cloud systems remaining in some form once COVID is under control. Especially when the hard work is yet to come as we enter a new year full of opportunities to build back stronger.
At sales-i, our teams have been working hard to support customers and ensure they are using sales-i to keep track of interactions, spot opportunities, and proactively retain customers. All of these features and more are easily accessed through our SaaS cloud-based software, allowing your team to sell smart every day from any location.
To find out how we can help your business, contact our team.