The coronavirus pandemic has spurred greater adoption of cloud and increased the opportunity for partners to guide customers and add value.
Research from NetApp has found that a large majority of users quizzed (86%) felt the cloud has become essential to their business and many of them saw it as playing a greater role in their storage strategies. Some 87% viewed storing data in the cloud as easier than other methods.
There were clear indications that even though many had adopted the cloud over the past 18 months, there was still plenty of road left, with almost half of the employees surveyed reporting that they are not using all the cloud services at their disposal and 74% did not think their business was maximising the opportunities offered by going down the hosted route.
“This research shows that businesses see the value in cloud, but that they are only scratching the surface of how it can transform their organisation,” said Matt Watts, chief technology evangelist at NetApp.
That translates into a significant role for the channel, with Denise Bryant, UKI channel director at NetApp, viewing it as a chance for partners to continue to make a difference.
“The UK is among the global leaders when it comes to cloud adoption and, as the urgent need for digital transformation accelerates this further, the opportunity for partners is huge,” she said.
“The choice for customers can be overwhelming, particularly if they do not have the skills to understand the benefits of one public cloud provider over another or whether it is more cost-effective to deploy a hybrid cloud model. This is where partners, and in particular the customer success managers within partner organisations, come into play.
“Customers need these trusted advisers to demonstrate how they can maximise the opportunities the cloud offers them, and manage their data across different clouds, so that it is always where they need it, when they need it.”
NetApp’s research also raised some concerns about “digital wastage” and pointed to the cloud as a way to cut those levels down to give customers the chances to plough money into more profitable areas.
NetApp found that the cloud could reduce digital wastage by up to 60% and that 22% of employees felt they were paying too much for hosted services, emphasising the importance of getting the value for money argument right.
Watts added: “We also want to see businesses using the cloud in a way that is truly sustainable, reducing the digital wastage caused by paying for services they do not use or are failing to maximise the potential of.
“Businesses across the UK must ensure that they are maximising the return on investment of their cloud services, as this will enable them to accelerate the use of cloud-based technologies like software-as-a-service, data analytics and automation, which take the management of data off their hands, giving them the time and the tools to use data more strategically.”