What is a cloud-first strategy and why is it the future?
By Varun Bodhi
Cloud computing has become mainstream after businesses started to understand its functionality since the mid-2000’s. Its systematic advances has led to what is now called a ‘cloud-first’ strategy, a computing approach where a company’s first resort is to use cloud based solutions when devising new processes or adapting old processes.
According to a recent study by Gartner, more than 75 percent of organisations which use cloud services say they would implement a cloud-first strategy (CFS).
“We know of no vendor or service provider today whose business model offerings and revenue growth are not influenced by the increasing adoption of cloud-first strategies in organisations,” said Gartner research vise president Sid Nag.
In 2021, the global public cloud service was forecasted to be worth USD $ 289.1 billion. This amount is expected to reach USD $331.2 billion by the end of 2022.
So the question is…
On a surface level, businesses often fall into the common misconception that a CFS is primarily for IT purposes. However, a CFS aims to drive all of its functions into cloud services including business processes, application infrastructure, management and security, along with system infrastructure.
The first and most obvious reason for a CFS is major cost savings on hardware. When a start-up company is beginning to establish itself and plan its roots, or an existing organisation is looking to adapt its current processes, all cloud services cut down on hardware and the space necessary to sustain the hardware.
This also saves time, money and resources because a business can avoid having to upgrade, replace or repair hardware which ends up minimising labor costs.
Scale, scale and scale
When a business grows and recognises the opportunity to scale, the first thing that it must consider is what changes must occur internally. A business which has the capability to scale will be recognised as a thriving business and can distinguish itself from an organisation which is underprepared to grow.
CFS implementing businesses can have the ease of mind to scale without the hassle of needing to redesign their infrastructure. The cloud’s technology provides the avenue to scale to the organisation’s desired degree by simply upgrading your current plan or adding a new software to deliver its intended function.
A CFS will also enable businesses to scale faster due to reduced costs and will decrease the stress placed on your IT team since they don’t need to scale internally.
Reduce human error and continuously evolve
The beauty of cloud applications are their automated technology which operate continuously in the background without needing manual interactions. For example, as opposed to manually managing and scheduling dates to back up your data, a cloud application can perform this without the human error of forgetting or accidentally deleting something in the process.
One of the major perks cloud computing brings is its constant evolving nature. According to Gartner, cloud computing will ‘serve as the foundation for business innovation’ by 2025.
Cloud applications frequently provide software updates and fix any bugs within its system which decreases internal workload while guaranteeing your business a self-improving investment
What does a cloud-first strategy consist of?
Other than knowing the benefits of the cloud, it’s important to have an actual strategy and an implementation plan. Many businesses assume using cloud applications implies that they have a cloud-strategy or an implementation plan.
Gartner’s research suggests a good cloud-first strategy should consist of 10 to 20 pages of concise information which identifies the specific role cloud computing plays in an organisation. The document should receive frequent updates and should not be confused with simply transferring everything to the cloud.
It also recommends to have an exit strategy and to not fall into the ‘all or nothing trap’.
Should my business use a cloud-first strategy?
The numbers indicate a strong uptake for the strategy and most research forecasts this trend to only increase from here.
As of 2021, 92 percent of organisations utilise a multi-cloud strategy or have one in planning stages, while 82 percent of large enterprises have implemented a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Businesses are constantly having to adapt their models based on market changes and recognising the benefits of cloud computing is the first step to keeping up with a continuously evolving landscape.