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Coronavirus: Enterprise cloud adoption accelerates in face of Covid-19, says research

A global survey of IT leaders suggests the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a speeding up of the pace of cloud adoption, as enterprises embrace remote working

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has prompted an acceleration in the adoption of cloud technologies by IT leaders worldwide, which looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

That’s according to data accrued by IT asset management firm, Snow Software, which polled 250 IT leaders from around the world about how the onset of the pandemic had affected their cloud adoption plans.

Out of those surveyed, 82% said they had ramped up their use of cloud in direct response to the pandemic and the shift to remote working patterns this had ushered in, with 60% saying their use of off-premise technologies had continued to grow since then.

Even so, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease across the globe, making it possible for workers in some countries to return to their offices to work, 66% of survey respondents said they will continue to increase their overall use of cloud for the foreseeable.  

Meanwhile, just 22% of those surveyed said their use of cloud technologies had initially increased at the start of the pandemic, but had since levelled off as the weeks had progressed.

Specifically, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents said Covid-19 had led to an increase in spending on private and public cloud infrastructure services, including those offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform.

Just over half (55%) said they had increased their use of cloud-based collaboration tools, including Slack, Teams or Google Chat, and 52% said their reliance on cloud-based video conferencing technologies, such as Zoom, Cisco WebEx or GoToMeeting had gone up during this period.

According to Snow Software, while the rising use of cloud-based productivity tools is interesting, the surge in demand for cloud infrastructure tools is indicative of a much more significant change in how organisations operate, and suggests the pandemic may have cause some enterprises to re-evaluate their public cloud strategies.  

“Overall, these trends hint at a larger change in enterprise cloud strategy. As IT leaders face the concurrent challenges of continuing to support remote work, enabling a return to the workplace and tightening budgets, 91% said they are altering their cloud strategy,” said the company in a statement.

To this point, 45% of respondents said they planned to accelerate the pace of their cloud migration plans, and their businesses’ wider digital transformation initiatives (41%), whereas 22% said they planned to put their cloud plans on hold.

Perhaps in light of the economic toll the Covid-19 outbreak is known to be taking on businesses the world over, 32% of respondents said they are having to “get creative” with their budgets to cover the cost of their increased cloud usage.

So much so, 32% said they had requested extended payment terms from their cloud providers, while 31% said they are in the throes of renegotiating their cloud contracts, and a further 10% admitted they would not be able to pay their cloud bills this month.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has turned cloud into an essential service for many organisations, as well as highlighting the complexities of managing cloud cost and usage,” said Jay Litkey, executive vice-president of cloud management at Snow Software.

“This survey confirms what we are hearing from our customers – that while many CIOs are being asked to trim costs, there will be continued investment in technology that presents the opportunity for long-term growth and stability.

“To weather the storm, IT leaders must take a comprehensive approach to managing cloud, uncovering opportunities to streamline costs while continuing to provide the infrastructure needed to support their workforce and drive innovation,” Litkey added.

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