This past year fundamentally altered the way we conduct business, how we communicate, and the way we work. The rush of digital transformation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic laid the groundwork for future resiliency and growth.

Technologies housed in the public cloud empowered organizations to unlock their fullest potential through innovation and ongoing transformation.

Although many businesses are taking this energy and new capabilities into the new year, some companies still do not feel well equipped to handle 2021. Let us explore the industry’s current state and trending technologies to understand better how we can successfully strategize for the coming year.

Are We Ready for 2021?

According to McKinsey & Company’s research, 90 percent of executives feel that the changes brought about in 2020 will profoundly shift business in the next five years. Still, less than 30 percent feel prepared to leverage the new growth opportunities. If we thought technology evolved rapidly before, this year completely upended that perspective. Capabilities from the Internet of Things (IoT), cognitive services, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (AR/MR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) transitioned from differentiators to everyday essentials.

Fortunately, these technologies are not only more crucial than ever, but more within reach. In Flexera’s 2020 State of the Cloud Report, we can see that 90 percent of organizations now use at least one cloud service. The large percentage of technology adoption may be attributed to the fact that the public cloud offers a cost-effective, scalable approach to infrastructure expansion.

Trending Through the New Year

The ‘as-a-Service’ technology could be named the number one trend for 2020, helping businesses expand their focus beyond the basic needs to more significant innovation, accessibility, and efficiency. Researchers predict that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will generate almost $141 billion in 2022, growing rapidly, yet not as fast as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Over five years from 2018-2022, experts predict a compound annual growth rate of 18 percent for IaaS. This intense growth period is since businesses turn towards serverless, cloud-native models over traditional infrastructure for simplified management and greater scalability. Through the next three years, Gartner predicts that almost all legacy applications migrated to the public cloud through IaaS will require optimization to improve performance and remain cost-effective.

The multicloud environment is stepping up to the plate to help with this continuous innovation. Companies are embracing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions for greater flexibility, control, and accessibility. Researchers report that 93 percent of companies currently using a cloud service have a multi-cloud strategy, and for a good reason. This trend will undoubtedly continue into the new year.

Strategize for Success

The question many organizations are trying to answer as we transition to a new year is, “How do you effectively maximize your investments and innovation to align with 2021 trends and necessary capabilities?” Businesses follow a Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) to maximize value and minimize risk to solve this conundrum. A well-thought-out CAF can provide the structure and direction to evaluate existing cloud environments, support the development of new skills, update processes, and address any methodology gaps.

There are a couple of best practices to optimize your cloud strategy for success beyond following a CAF. First, take the time to optimize workloads for the cloud environment, which means size and schedule virtual machines, so they ‘know’ they are in the cloud. Second, moving data can come at a high price, so take the time to conceptualize workflows to enable greater flexibility across environments.

Find the Right Tools & Technology

Strategy can only take your business so far without the proper tools and technology. There is a plethora of tools and technologies you can use to unlock innovation within the cloud. Some tech companies recommend Containers and Kubernetes or maybe even Google Anthos. Still, the cloud computing experts at The Bauen Group recommend the solution used by many publicly known companies such as Pixar, Apple, Samsung, eBay, and Boeing— Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive set of cloud computing technologies that allows your team to design, deploy, and manage applications on a global network. The Azure Arc is a unique hybrid cloud management platform that enables your company to manage better servers, databases, and Kubernetes clusters no matter where they live. Microsoft offers Azure Arc at no additional cost when managing Azure Arc enabled servers.

The Arc, alongside many other capabilities and features within the Azure framework, is vital in helping you simplify the complex nature of cloud computing and distributed environments.

Building Better Together

If we learned one thing this past year, it is that together is better. Without partnership, it becomes significantly more challenging to navigate the chaos and grow through it. If you go beyond adopting the best practices and tools, you may find the prospect of designing an effective public cloud strategy to be overwhelming.

By partnering with an expert, much like The Bauen Group, you can easily navigate procurement, management, and delivery across your cloud environment. With the right plan, the right team, and the right tools, your organization can start to harness the power of the public cloud to tackle any new challenges and drive future growth in 2021.

The Bauen Group is a team of professionals that see solutions and opportunities where companies see challenges.

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