Everywhere you look, the impact of Covid-19 on enterprise technology adoption looms large. Executives, navigating a business climate of profound transformation, are watching new changes occur quarter by quarter.
I recently spoke to Duncan Robinson, vice president, global portfolio management and marketing at Ingram Micro Cloud, the world’s largest marketplace of cloud solutions and services for the channel, about the adoption of cloud technologies in a post-Covid-19 era.
Gary Drenik: AI is expected to drive innovation across different sectors including a major focus around machine learning. How can the development of these technologies influence the adoption of cloud computing in the next 5 years?
Duncan Robinson: It has been decades since the first form of artificial intelligence (AI) was created. Since then, companies have been motivated to experiment with the technology, applying it to a varied range of solutions – from automation to pattern matching – helping industries including bioscience, education, and healthcare, among countless others, to develop at a deeper capacity.
Now, this technology is influencing other emerging technologies, leading experts to believe that by 2025 some 50% of cloud data centers will deploy protocols equipped with AI and machine learning capabilities.
Based on the above, it is clear that AI has transformed our perception around how we will interact with cloud technology. For example, AI can potentially be leveraged to generate insights from company data, giving greater intelligence to existing capabilities, which, among many benefits, will result in greater cloud adoption by enterprises.
As AI continues to expand its influence, companies will be increasingly drawn to the endless possibilities AI-driven technologies can offer for their business growth. Cloud technologies combined with AI solutions will be a part of this future. For example, in the future developers will not need to build and manage a separate infrastructure for hosting AI platforms when using public cloud services, saving time and resources.
What we expect to occur is that AI and cloud computing will become increasingly interdependent, resulting in a greater correlation in the adoption of both AI and cloud technology.
Drain: The adoption of cloud services has been proven to increase efficiency within organizations during the pandemic. Will this continue to happen in a post-Covid-19 world?
Robinson: It is no secret that overnight cloud adoption became essential to businesses as companies moved to remote work models during Covid-19. Not only did cloud technology help employees to easily access their company’s information, it also provided support to public and private organizations that needed to improve their data processing and management capabilities.
As a result, 69% of businesses say cloud solutions helped them recover from the pandemic, in part due to this improved efficiency.
We expect the adoption of cloud and its impact on efficiency to continue in a post-Covid-19 world. At Ingram Micro Cloud we are committed to this with our channel business supporting over half a million subscriptions, while maintaining an unwavering commitment to customer experience.
Even as we transition to a post-Covid-19 world, we expect certain trends to continue. According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, 60% of Millennials would prefer to be hired by a company that provides a hybrid work environment.
They indicated that it provides a better work / life balance and higher feelings of productivity when working from home. Unquestionably, remote work will continue to be a preference, which is why cloud services will continue to be essential far beyond the pandemic years.
There remains a litany of new challenges that partners face when helping customers build more robust cloud presences. This being said, it is undeniable the impact cloud has on improved data, efficiency, and productivity.
As cloud models reach maturity, and more workers demand the ability to continue working remotely, it has become increasingly evident that a single model isn’t able to meet every organization’s needs and the use of multiple public and private clouds has fast become a model that companies are eager to leverage. Today, 73% of enterprises are already using two or more public clouds, and that number is only expected to continue reaching new heights within the next five years.
Drain: Adopting cloud technologies has exposed some risks such as data privacy and malware spreading. What other risks do you think the “new normal” and evolving technologies can present within a cloud environment?
Robinson: The FBI calculated that cyberattacks increased by 400% during the height of the pandemic, and a report by TechCrunch concluded that almost every category of cyberattack grew in 2021. No sector was immune, including the cloud, particularly given how many businesses sought to move data. to new public and private cloud platforms, opening the door to account hijacking – which now ranks as the largest concern for 45% of IT professionals.
As a result, all three of the largest public cloud providers have made acquisitions in the cybersecurity space over the past year; however, 82% of data security professionals still say they were extremely concerned about shadow data – the practice of employees, accidentally or maliciously, installing technology without the involvement of their IT departments.
Therefore, even if cloud hyperscalers are strengthening their cybersecurity protocols, there are overlooked threats that need to be addressed, including emerging technologies that cybercriminals are leveraging in new ways to launch sophisticated attacks.
At Ingram Micro Cloud, cybersecurity awareness among employees and multi-cloud automation methodologies have become a core part of our practices, given that 88% of data breaches are caused by human error. Enterprise education of these risks will be critical in helping to address these threats to cloud adoption.
Drain: The adoption of cloud technology has been affected by unreliability from the last few years (this is evidenced by 90% of AI models not making it to production and trend model predictions getting disrupted by the pandemic). What can companies rely on when it comes to dealing with uncertainty?
Robinson: It is true that the pandemic hindered some of our industry pioneer’s progress. It particularly affected industry supply chains, which slowed down and even temporarily stopped certain sectors, triggering a manufacturing crisis. However, the technology sector took this disruption as an opportunity to innovate.
Although we cannot truly guarantee that we can prevent another pandemic from happening, technology will always be solutions driven. Like Arthur C. Clarke said well, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” That to me meaning, we have the ability to make the seemingly impossible, possible, through technology when we try.
Companies will need to support this progress with strategic decisions that help us all adapt to new circumstances, whilst also driving results. At Ingram Micro Cloud, this is one of our team’s unwavering commitments, which we call More as a Service, our organizations tagline. It is our promise to connect problem solvers and innovators, to turn obstacles into opportunities, and to help our partners scale their businesses at a previously unimaginable pace.
For our team, a new decade means continued transformation. While uncertainty will always exist, it is important that we continue to march forward. In many ways, the only thing constant is change.
Leadership coupled with technology and team are the keys to success during uncertain times. That is one thing the pandemic has taught us.
Drain: Thanks Duncan, for your insights on cloud adoption in an uncertain post-Covid-19 Era.