Deloitte: Shift to cloud services accelerated by COVID-19
A shift to cloud services by organisations around the world will be accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Deloitte.
Highlighted in the report: The future of cloud-enabled work infrastructure is that 87% of global IT decision-makers (polled by Logic Monitor) agree more companies will migrate their work to the cloud causing a decline in on-line premises workloads by 2025.
According to the report, despite the economic recession triggered by the pandemic, each major public cloud provider posted a continued double-digit growth in 2020 with the highest of 43% for Google Cloud Platform.
Deloitte reports companies worldwide spent US$34.6 billion on cloud services in the second quarter - up roughly 11% from the previous quarter. “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
COVID-19 has affected work, workforce and workplace in dramatic ways and forced organisations to think about their future infrastructure needs and accelerate their movement to the cloud, outlines the insights paper.
“We expect to see a shift in cloud strategies toward cloud migration, security, operations, value planning, and DevSecOps (short for development, security, and operations) as well as a retraction of cloud native, container and serverless initiatives,” says the report.
Statistics before and during the global pandemic shows a steep uptick in organisations looking to public clouds:
- Cloud demand
Before; 20% of enterprises expected half of their workload to be in a public cloud by 12 months.
During; 59% expect cloud use to exceed plans – queries for senior cloud executives has increased by 224%.
- Remote working
Before; 3% of employees reportedly worked remotely in January 2020.
During; 64% of full-time employees worked remotely as of April 2020 and 81% of the global workforce (2.7 billion workers) was impacted by lockdown as of May 2020.
- Collaboration tools
Before; 20 million Microsoft Teams daily active users in November 2019.
After: 75 million (almost quadrupled) Microsoft Teams daily active users by May 2020.
- Infrastructure requirement
Before: 17% desktop users and 15% mobile users accessed VPN IN December 2019.
During: Microsoft Azure VPN grew by 94%
- Cloud revenues:
Before: Cloud market leaders experienced growth in 2019 – 37% for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Q2 2019 and 22% growth in Microsoft Intelligent Cloud in Q3 2019.
During: Despite the economic recession, each major public cloud provider posted a continued double-digit growth in 2020 the highest of 43% for Google Cloud Platform, 29% for Amazon Web Services and 27% for Microsoft Intelligent Cloud.
Surge in demand for services
“With most of the global workforce remote, major public cloud providers witnessed a huge surge in demand for their services. Such volumes stressed traditional infrastructure (such as virtual private networks) and forced organisations to lift and shift to the cloud quickly, leaving room for further optimisation,” report Deloitte.
Stay-at-home orders made it difficult, if not impossible, to access on-premise infrastructure highlighting a key infrastructure risk. The vulnerability of tightly interlocked business and technology architectures to stress has become apparent.
As organisations respond to COVID-19 with a renewed cloud focus, they face IT complexity, security risk, and operational efficiency challenges,” warns Deloitte. “Resilient leaders and organisations have an opportunity to modernise their technology backbones with scalable cloud infrastructure,”
When designing an approach, Deloitte’s research has shown that the “magic mix” to resolving cloud complexity is having effective tools (34%), approaches (34%), and people (32%).
Deloitte commented that multicloud solutions and hybrid cloud technology strategies are normal for those already in the cloud and will likely continue to see increased adoption as they enable business flexibility.
The next frontier is here
“The next frontier of managing cloud complexity will likely be developing multicloud solutions that use the right combination of tools, software, and technology to manage cloud services and enable business applications - everything from orchestrating data from virtual data centres to implementing AIOps, “ outlines the report.
“These heterogeneous IT infrastructures are seeing shifts in consumption that make cloud a favourable solution.”
Finally, ways of working have been altered in profound ways, prompting organisations to double down on DevOps best practices that increase collaboration and introduce new approaches for a distributed world. Organisations can look to double down on agile development, embrace ChatOps for virtual collaboration, automate DevOps processes that continue to shift left, and step into new roles to support an IT-as-a-service operating model.
“This combination of multicloud solutions, federated security, and distributed DevOps can help create a future of cloud-enabled work infrastructure needed to make virtual business infrastructure work, concludes the report.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”