With COVID-19 hanging on, migration to the cloud accelerates

IDC predicts 80% of enterprises will speed up their shift to a cloud-centric infrastructure.

A businessman stands in front of maze strewn with clouds.
Gremlin / Getty Images

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating, migration to the cloud is expected to accelerate as enterprises choose to let someone else worry about their server gear.

In its global IT outlook for 2021 and beyond, IDC predicts the continued migration of enterprise IT equipment out of on-premises data centers and into data centers operated by cloud service providers (such as AWS and Microsoft) and colocation specialists (such as Equinix and Digital Realty).

The research firm expects that by the end of 2021, 80% of enterprises will put a mechanism in place to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications twice as fast as before the pandemic. CIOs must accelerate the transition to a cloud-centric IT model to maintain competitive parity and to make the organization more digitally resilient, the firm said.

"The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that the ability to rapidly adapt and respond to unplanned/foreseen business disruptions will be a clearer determiner of success in our increasingly digitalized economy," said Rick Villars, IDC group vice president for worldwide research, in a statement. "A large percentage of a future enterprise's revenue depends upon the responsiveness, scalability, and resiliency of its infrastructure, applications, and data resources."

In this new normal, the most important thing enterprises can do is seek opportunities to leverage new technologies to take advantage of competitive/industry disruptions and extend capabilities for business acceleration.

Additional IDC predictions include:

  • Edge becomes a top priority: Reactions to changed workforce and operations practices during the pandemic will be the dominant accelerators for 80% of edge-driven investments and business model changes in most industries through 2023.
  • The intelligent digital workspace: By 2023, 75% of global 2000 companies will commit to providing technical parity to a workforce that is hybrid by design rather than by circumstance, enabling them to work together separately and in real time.
  • The pandemic's IT legacy: Through 2023, coping with technical debt accumulated during the pandemic will shadow 70% of CIOs, causing financial stress, inertial drag on IT agility, and "forced march" migrations to the cloud.
  • Resiliency is central to the next normal: In 2022, enterprises focused on digital resiliency will adapt to disruption and extend services to respond to new conditions 50% faster than ones fixated on restoring existing business/IT resiliency levels.
  • A shift towards autonomous IT operations: Thanks to AI/ML advances in analytics, an emerging cloud ecosystem will be the underlying platform for all IT and business automation initiatives by 2023.
  • Opportunistic AI expansion: By 2023, one quarter of global 2000 companies will acquire at least one AI software start-up to ensure ownership of differentiated skills and IP out of competitive necessity.
  • Relationships are under review: By 2024, 80% of enterprises will overhaul relationships with suppliers, providers, and partners to better execute digital strategies.
  • Sustainability becomes a factor: By 2025, 90% of global 2000 companies will mandate reusable materials in IT hardware supply chains, carbon neutrality targets for providers' facilities, and lower energy use as prerequisites for doing business.
  • People still matter: Through 2023, half of enterprises' hybrid workforce and business automation efforts will be delayed or will fail outright due to underinvestment in building IT/Sec/DevOps teams with the right tools/skills. Enterprises will turn to new ways to find the talent they need.
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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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