HOW HAS THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC ACCELERATED CLOUD ADOPTION ACROSS EVERY INDUSTRY?
The unexpected pandemic
The coronavirus(COVID-19) outbreak caused significant impacts and uncertainties on each and every individual and enterprise across the globe. This invisible enemy hit every sector of the economy, from movie theatres to clinics, warehouses to food processing plants, nursery schools to colleges, blue-collar to white-collar jobs, and many more. As a result, the Corona pandemic had significant impacts on various businesses, big and small. Many companies around the country experienced supply chain disruptions, decreased demand for their products and services, supply and input shortages, and government-mandated closures.
The epidemic created havoc on labor markets, economies, and businesses throughout the world and global supply lines, causing severe commercial disruptions. Besides endangering public health, the economic and social turmoil endangered millions of long-term livelihoods and well-being. Companies all across the world have had to cope with the changing circumstances and consumer behavior, as well as look for changes in difficult times.
This necessitated a great deal of imagination, invention, and the creation of new business models where every sector had two inputs in general, i.e., investing in their innovation and taking their business online.
How does the crisis affect different sectors?
We know that pandemics affected each sector in their own ways. Such an unprecedented situation also created a standard set of issues across all sectors because of the sudden requirement of work from home and brought the following difficulties in businesses:
- Balancing human workforce with automation
- Remote work planning
- Engaging stakeholders
Let us take some examples and case studies from the Education, healthcare, and textile industries for a better analysis.
Healthcare: Pandemics forced people to stay at home. People who required regular health checkups, follow-ups, and even those who required critical health care found it very difficult to treat their illnesses in time. Hospitals were overloaded with covid patients and could not even provide necessary medical care or supplies like oxygen for all those who approached them. Clinicians and the whole healthcare system were working overtime to save severe covid patients and reduce deaths, while many others were suffering because they could not even get any health care. To overcome this, Government and private hospitals came up with online consultation portals and services – a new model for providing health care services to the public.
The Healthcare sector witnessed a huge shift in the generation, use, storage, and sharing of healthcare data that occurred due to the pandemic. As a result, the healthcare business faced its biggest challenge in refining its data management processes, from traditional storage to digitalization of healthcare data. Cloud computing effectively addresses this problem by providing a modern platform for faster invention, quicker time to market, and cost reduction. Furthermore, they were able to bring factors such as flexible computing power, high availability, lower backup and disaster recovery costs. This gave a resilient core for business process and business continuity and focused remote workforce management and business agility.
Education: The Education sector is the most talked-about sector when it comes to the abrupt changes forced by the pandemic. All of a sudden, schools and colleges got closed, and millions of students started to stay at home. They were not able to continue their studies or take any examinations. Studies show that around 45 countries in Europe and Central Asia stopped their schools at the height of the pandemic, affecting 185 million children.
Teachers and administrators were caught off guard by the suddenness of the issue and were pushed to create emergency remote learning systems almost immediately. This sudden lack of physical interaction between teacher and student is one of the major drawbacks of emergency remote learning. Hence, several countries, including India, took the initiative to improve the remote educational experience by employing various technologies such as social media, email, telephone, etc. In addition, online cloud platforms with modern teaching/learning technologies played a significant role in the course continuation of millions and millions of students across the globe.
Retail: With the pandemic, online retailers became the unicorns of the industry. Forced to sit at home, people had to depend on online stores and delivery mechanisms to live their lives and survive. But their biggest challenge for such platforms was in managing, storing, and analyzing data since it was an exhaustive task. Cloud infrastructure and services provided the necessary solutions to scale up and manage these demands and process data for real-time insights. Furthermore, being in a highly competitive industry, retailers wanted to extend their reach to the customers with multiple stores and efficiently manage supply chains to provide a unique customer experience in a short time. This was possible by integrating cloud computing services in the retail sector not only reduces IT costs but also simplifies the workflow, improves efficiency, scalability, and end-user experience.
How does cloud adoption come into the picture?
Any business, they were staying afloat during COVID-19 demands fresh strategies. During the Covid 19 pandemic, “digital transformation” was a buzzword, with every business transitioning their operations to cloud adoption and online productivity. The lockdown and remote working culture were an unexpected reality check for large and small businesses. The pandemic constraints turned the world upside down, with industries like tourism and hospitality going bankrupt and countless businesses struggling to survive. Due to the unpredictability of the times and the eventual reality of the “new normal,” an increasing number of businesses are laying out their plans for cloud computing and digital transformation.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) research in the United States, nearly half of 416 small businesses with 500 or fewer employees said that they were finding measures to stay in business. Businesses have reported that they are coping by making the following changes in general:
- Using contactless deliveries to make services available.
- Asking employees to learn new skills to support changes to the business models.
- Adopting new revenue streams, such as converting production lines to make hand sanitizer, is in high demand.
- Instituting new safety measures for virtual data such as cloud adoption.
Hence, such an uncertain time is making us settle into a ‘new normal.’ For that, cloud computing and digital transformation are being adopted by an increasing number of businesses.
How is cloud computing generally helping every sector?
During Covid-19, it became clear that cloud adoption is necessary for remote data access, storage, and operations, ensuring business continuity and risk mitigation for production systems. During these pandemic times, it was also seen that organizations with strong Cloud capabilities performed significantly better than those with on-premise infrastructure. A key benefit of cloud-based services to any sector is that they do not require additional hardware (such as servers required for on-premises solutions) and can be implemented remotely which helps in speedier adoption and upscaling across a variety of settings (provided that appropriate infrastructure exists). Let us list all the essential benefits in general:
- Remote Working Solution for the sudden work from home culture
- Business continuity for all sizes of businesses
- Efficient Collaboration for better sales strategies
- Enhanced remote Education in large scale structure
- Cybersecurity for public and private sectors
- Automatic Software Updates
- A higher degree of flexibility
Challenges in Cloud Adoption?
Though cloud adoption is the way to go, and everyone wanted to adopt cloud for their digital transformation, there were several challenges. Major cloud adoption and migrations challenges were:
- Data security
- Choosing the right Cloud Service Provider
- Choosing the right technology partner
- The complexity of cloud/cloud technologies and lack of expertise
- Compliance issues
- Resistance to adoption
- Post-migration support/maintenance
No organization has gone untouched by the pandemic, and cloud providers have helped to mitigate this ongoing impact. Cloud adoption gave many organizations an accelerated revival during the Covid 19 pandemic at the fastest pace possible. The experience established and highlighted the cloud’s importance as a critical component for businesses’ risk reduction. It has not only ensured service continuity but has also given enterprises the ability to work remotely, removing the requirement for employees to be physically present in the office. In addition, cloud adoption facilitated such a looming market recession that forced future IT spending, which is exactly what gives us more hope for the system.