The cloud and rising to the challenge
How cloud platforms and services are vital for organisations navigating the coronavirus crisis
In a very short space of time, the coronavirus outbreak has completely transformed how organisations across all sectors operate. With lockdown restrictions rolling out across the globe, those organisations have moved quickly to instruct their staff to work from home in a bid to halt the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
The nature of the IT industry will mean many of its businesses and employees will have remote working experience, but that isn’t the same across the board. According to March 2020 research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), only 30% of UK employees ever worked from home during 2019. For many, the change has been sharp and abrupt, and brought with it significant challenges for both the workforce and the IT infrastructure required to support it.
Due to the rapidly unfolding pace of the Covid-19 pandemic, CIOs have had little time to test the robustness of their business continuity strategy. However, the demands of the workforce will remain the same, with remote staff expecting the same resources and applications from home as they would if they were still operating out of a central office. Making sure that IT infrastructures can cope with the surge in demand for access to on-premise and cloud platforms from remote locations is key in the coming months.
Every organisation is at a different stage of its digital transformation journey, but those further along the road will likely have had a headstart when it comes to keeping day-to-day operations going. For instance, companies with an existing cloud infrastructure and agile working culture – and the IT services to support it – will have been able to pivot quickly to remote working once social distancing instructions came into place. For those lagging behind, the challenges will be far greater.
A recent report from GlobalData, Tech, Media & Telecom Trends 2020 (updated to take into account Covid-19), stated that the current crisis will have a significant impact on how businesses approach IT. Principal Analyst, Global IT Technology and Software at GlobalData, Chris Drake, said that although the coronavirus may pause some IT projects, for others “it is likely to spur demand for cloud computing and other IT solutions, including edge computing, as organisations accelerate and adjust their digital transformation strategies”.
Drake further underlined the significance of the cloud in supporting this new way of working, adding: “As businesses shutter their brick and mortar operations and, where they can, transition to a remote workforce, it is clear how important the cloud is for continuity of operations. Any organisation that actively resisted digitalisation is now confronted with a harsh reality. This puts cloud providers in a strong position.”
Though the cloud is now ubiquitous across business and the wider tech world, it has long moved beyond the public model, with new trends emerging to offer greater flexibility. Hybrid cloud, for instance, allows organisations to migrate to the cloud but retain some of their applications and data in private data centres. Multi-cloud, meanwhile, lets an organisation manage its infrastructure across different cloud environments and still use its own data centres.
The need for greater flexibility from the cloud is more relevant now than ever before. As-a-service solutions like HPE’s GreenLake offer a ready-made solution to increase control and lower TCO (total cost of ownership). Usage of GreenLake is metered, so whether its storage or network traffic, a business will only pay for what it consumes – that means no more committing capital to IT assets and resources that won’t get used.
Billed as a full everything-as-a-service offering, GreenLake hybrid cloud lets you design, build, manage and optimise your on- and off-premises solutions – it blends the agility and economics of public cloud with the security and performance of on-premises servers.
The GreenLake hybrid cloud experience lets you monitor your entire IT environment – apps, data usage, costs – via a single online portal. The HPE Greenlake Central dashboard gives oversight to purchase and manage on-premises, public and private clouds, while cost projections let you measure actual spend against projected. Moreover, the GreenLake Marketplace gives you the option to try out and purchase new apps, then quickly roll them out across your IT estate.
IT and digital transformation strategies need to be agile to respond to constant shifts and new technologies, and the current coronavirus pandemic has highlighted that external factors can play a significant part in business continuity. A solution like HPE GreenLake offers a scalable, on-demand IT and cloud infrastructure ready to meet demand – that’s essential if you want to remain competitive and keep moving your digital transformation strategy forward. When the world emerges from the other side of the pandemic, it’s the organisations with a rounded cloud strategy that will be best-placed to thrive and meet the challenges that lie ahead.