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Top 7 Trends to Transform Your Enterprise Cloud Strategy

27 Jun 2024

Cloud Migration

The cloud market is constantly changing and expanding its scope of services. To keep up, many businesses simply try to make use of every new feature and functionality that these changes bring. However, this approach can often lead to wasted resources, efforts, and time. You can’t have and use it all. The smart way to embrace the increasing number of offerings of the cloud is by understanding how these offerings can help your business become more efficient - which of them are the right fit for the specific needs of your organization? 

The tendency now is to focus on attaining more business benefits with the help of the new cloud approaches and being more mindful when it comes to cloud transformation. The main way to do this is by being flexible and willing to adjust your business’ cloud strategies to the emerging innovations of the cloud. 

Let’s take a look at the most important trends that are already shaping the future cloud environment for businesses around the world.

#1 AI and ML Integration

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are transforming pretty much every aspect of the technology landscape, and cloud computing is not an exception. The AI- and ML-driven innovations in cloud computing are already impacting the ways businesses navigate their cloud environments. 

Integrating AI/ML into your cloud strategy can help you achieve smarter decision-making, automate routine tasks, and improve customer experience. From predictive analytics to intelligent chatbots, the possibilities you can make use of are endless. 

Here are the benefits of AI/ML integration into your cloud environment: 

   - Better Decision-Making: One of the main advantages of integrating AI and ML into your cloud strategy is the ability to essentially improve decision-making with the help of comprehensive data analysis. AI- and ML-powered technologies can sort out large amounts of data faster and more accurately than humans. They can easily detect patterns and extract insights that might otherwise go unnoticed. This enables business owners to make smarter decisions based on real-time analytics, historical data, and predictive models. Imagine having the ability to predict market trends, understand customer behaviors, or learn about possible operational downtimes beforehand with a high degree of accuracy - AI and ML can turn this into reality. 

   - Automation of Repetitive Manual Tasks: It goes without saying that AI and ML are on the forefront of task automation. Implementing AI and ML tools in your cloud infrastructure can help streamline operations, free up your human resources for more business-critical roles, and reduce human error. Such time-consuming and dull tasks as data entry, scheduling, and certain aspects of customer service can easily be automated, resulting in better efficiency and productivity. For instance, ML algorithms can automate data preprocessing and sorting, while AI tools such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can cover your administrative needs. When you implement RPA in the cloud, you notice such positive changes as easier adjustments to changing workloads, enhanced scalability based on demand, and finally, more optimal use and allocation of resources. The cloud helps you expand your automation efforts beyond your onsite hardware. 

   - Improved Customer Experience: The cloud comes with scalable computing software, vast amounts of data, and robust networking which makes the real-time processing and analysis of customer data possible, delivering accurate insights. Basically, AI tools can thrive in the cloud. Additionally, cloud platforms allow easy integration and updates of AI solutions, which helps improve customer service without causing downtime. They provide global access to AI apps, ensuring consistency without borders. And lastly, the cloud’s pay-as-you-go model offers scalable AI operations without high upfront costs. This is an important feature for businesses wanting to deliver better customer experience and increase customer loyalty. 

#2 Industry Clouds

The next big thing in the cloud market are industry clouds. They are custom built clouds meant to cover the specific needs of various industries, such as healthcare, commodities, finance, retail, etc. Industry clouds come with pre-built solutions and compliance standards which make cloud transformation for businesses way easier than ever. 

Here are a few reasons why industry clouds are a thing these days:

   - Sector-Specific Solutions: With the help of industry clouds, business owners can solve the specific issues and challenges of their specific sector. For example, it’s no news that the healthcare industry deals with vast amounts of sensitive patient data, frequently under strict regulations such as HIPAA in the USA. A healthcare industry cloud would come in quite handy for such cases, offering data encryption, access controls, built-in compliance measures, leading to a faster and safer data monitoring. In the same way, financial firms also handle lots of customer data that needs to be protected from fraud and cyber attacks. A financial industry cloud would come with such features as strong threat detection, robust authentication protocols, and real-time monitoring to detect and mitigate risks before it’s too late. 

   - Easier Regulatory Compliance: Industry clouds come with built-in compliance with regulatory standards which makes it easier for companies to meet the complex legal requirements of their industry. Such clouds are pre-configured to adhere to the regulations of the industry they are built for, from GDPR for data safety in Europe to FDA regulations in the pharmaceutical industry. These clouds help reduce the risk of non-compliance, giving business owners the space to focus on innovation, without having to worry about the many different details of different regulations. 

   - Faster Cloud Deployment: Speed is one of the most important factors driving businesses forward in our day and time. Industry clouds help you gain the benefits of cloud services much faster as compared to the traditional cloud. You can use the pre-configured environments of these clouds to integrate them into the day-to-day operations of your business without having to deal with lengthy customization processes. For instance, a retail business can easily deploy a cloud-based inventory management system that already has built-in features for seamlessly handling seasonal inventory changes and integrating with different sales channels. This will lead to such benefits as faster time-to-market, improved agility, and better responsiveness to the changing dynamic of the modern market. 

Examples of Industry Clouds

Let's now explore some specific examples of industry clouds that are attracting attention these days:

   - Healthcare Cloud: Such major cloud providers as AWS and Microsoft Azure, both offer healthcare cloud solutions (AWS Healthcare Cloud and Microsoft Azure for Health). Their healthcare cloud platforms offer HIPAA-compliant infrastructure, telemedicine features, and advanced analytics to handle patient data. 

   - Financial Cloud: IBM Cloud for Financial Services and Oracle Financial Services Cloud come with such features as fraud detection, risk management, and again, regulatory compliant environments. This way they help financial firms and banks deliver secure services, ensuring robust data protection for their customers. 

   - Commodities Cloud: Such cloud solutions as SAP Commodity Management Cloud and AWS for Commodities cater to the specific needs of businesses in the commodities industry. These platforms deliver such features and functionalities as advanced analytics for supply chain management and optimization, risk management tools, and regulatory compliant environments. With the help of commodity clouds, you can achieve higher transparency, efficiency, and make data-driven decisions that can later enhance your business’ profits and sustainability. 

Using these industry-specific clouds, businesses can address their specific challenges more effectively, ensuring a smoother transition to cloud technology while remaining compliant with industry standards.

Cloud Transformation

#3 Modernization of Core Business Apps for the Cloud

One thing that will always be trendy is app modernization. Legacy software will impact your business negatively, slowing down your operations and decreasing overall productivity in the long run. What you need to do is focus on modernizing your core business applications in order to leverage the full potential of cloud services. There are multiple options for modernization, including refactoring, re-platforming, or re-architecting, which help make your systems cloud-native, improving scalability, performance, and security. 

Below are a few reasons why core business app modernization can help you make the most of your cloud environment: 

   - Scalability: Cloud services offer exceptional scalability which can be especially important for businesses wanting to effectively meet their growing demands. And with scalability, we refer to both vertical and horizontal scaling. Vertical scaling allows a system to leverage more powerful hardware resources like CPUs and memory, while horizontal scaling involves adding more nodes to a system, thus distributing the load more effectively. Cloud-native environments are built with these features in mind. They often incorporate auto-scaling capabilities which allow businesses to automatically allocate their resources based on real-time demand. This way, the service operates without interruptions, even during peak times, with minimum risk of outages or bottlenecks in performance. 

   - Enhanced Performance: Cloud-native applications are built using microservices, containerization, and serverless computing, which enable more efficient resource usage and quicker deployment cycles. These technologies allow for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), ensuring that updates and new features can be carried out rapidly without disrupting existing services. The performance improvements also come from leveraging cloud-specific optimizations such as distributed databases, content delivery networks (CDNs), and in-memory data stores, which reduce latency and improve the responsiveness of applications. As a result, businesses can provide faster, more reliable services to their users, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement levels. 

   - Improved Security: Cloud-native environments offer a multitude of advanced security features that are not easily achievable with traditional on-premises systems. These features include identity and access management (IAM), which provides granular control over who can access various resources within the cloud environment. Encryption ensures that sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access. Additionally, cloud platforms often offer built-in compliance reporting and security monitoring tools that help detect and respond to threats in real-time.

#4 FinOps and Cost Control 

Financial operations, or FinOps, is becoming a critical aspect of cloud strategy. FinOps is basically an operational framework that helps businesses manage and optimize their cloud spending. It helps you get the most value for your money by monitoring costs, budgeting, and detecting ways to save. By combining finance, technology, and business teams, FinOps promotes a culture of shared responsibility for your company’s cloud expenses. 

With the pay-as-you-go model, it's easy to overspend. Implementing cost optimization techniques like FinOps ensures you're deriving the most of your cloud services, without compromising quality or performance. 

   - Cost Control and Budgeting: Cost control and budgeting in the cloud environment involve monitoring and managing expenses to prevent unexpected costs. Cloud platforms provide various tools for tracking usage and spending in real-time. These tools enable businesses to set budgets, create alerts for when spending exceeds a predetermined threshold, and generate detailed reports to analyze spending patterns. By closely monitoring usage and optimizing resource allocation, businesses can stay within their budget while still using the necessary cloud services.

   - Maximized ROI on Cloud Investments: Maximizing ROI on cloud investments requires a strategic approach to how resources are deployed and utilized. This involves regular assessments to ensure that the cloud services being used are aligned with business objectives and deliver the desired outcomes. Additionally, investing in scalable solutions that grow with the business ensures that the cloud infrastructure remains cost-effective over time. Regularly reviewing contracts with cloud providers can also lead to better pricing and terms, further enhancing ROI.

   - Efficient Resource Allocation: This process starts with understanding the workload requirements and then matching them with the appropriate cloud resources. Implementing policies for shutting down unused or underused resources can contribute to efficient resource allocation. Tools that provide insights into resource usage across the organization can help identify areas for optimization and ensure that resources are allocated according to priority needs. By continuously monitoring and adjusting resource allocation, businesses can maintain optimal performance while minimizing costs.

#5 Maximizing Value from Existing Cloud Investments

Before jumping into new investments, optimizing what you already have can yield significant benefits. This includes better utilization of current cloud services, renegotiating contracts, and leveraging existing tools more effectively.

Here is what to expect from the optimization of your existing investments: 

   - Better ROI: Maximizing ROI from existing cloud investments involves undertaking a thorough audit of current resources and usage patterns. Identify underutilized services and look for opportunities to consolidate workloads or migrate to more cost-effective service plans. It's also important to review and understand the terms of existing contracts with cloud providers, as there may be options for renegotiation that can lead to lower rates or more favorable terms. Additionally, leveraging advanced cloud management tools can help uncover hidden inefficiencies and provide actionable insights for optimizing resource usage. 

   - Increased Efficiency: Increasing efficiency without additional expenses requires a strategic and proactive approach. From automation of manual tasks to utilization of performance monitoring and optimization tools, all of these will essentially revamp and fine-tune your applications and current cloud infrastructure. Training staff on efficient cloud usage and staying up-to-date with the latest cloud technologies and practices also contributes to improved efficiency. This holistic approach not only minimizes cloud costs but also enhances overall operational effectiveness.

Additionally, when you do all of the above by focusing on the more optimal use of your cloud investments, you will find yourself managing your resources better as well. This will help save more on cloud costs while enjoying seamless operational performance. 

#6 Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Strategies

Gone are the days when relying on a single cloud provider was the accepted standard. A multi-cloud or hybrid strategy allows you to distribute your workloads across multiple clouds, providing greater flexibility, redundancy, and risk management. 

Let’s look at the benefits of relying on multiple clouds:

   - Flexibility: A key advantage of adopting a multi-cloud strategy is the flexibility that comes with it. You can choose high-quality services from different cloud providers, tailoring your cloud environment to meet specific needs and performance requirements. For example, one provider might offer great data analytics tools, while another excels in artificial intelligence or machine learning services. By using the strengths of multiple providers, you can optimize your cloud stack and implement the best tools available for various tasks. This flexibility also allows you to avoid vendor lock-in, which can result in better bargaining power and the ability to rapidly adapt to technological advancements and market changes without being tied to a single provider's ecosystem.

   - Risk Management: Incorporating redundancy into your multi-cloud strategy significantly enhances risk management. By distributing workloads and data across multiple cloud environments, you can safeguard your business against outages or failures specific to a single provider. This means that if one cloud service experiences downtime or a disruption, your operations can continue to run smoothly using services from the other provider. It also provides a robust backup solution, ensuring that data is not only protected but also recoverable in case of an incident. Additionally, the multi-cloud approach supports compliance needs, enabling businesses to store data in multiple geographic regions to adhere to local regulations and data sovereignty laws, further mitigating risk.

   - Enhanced Resilience and Uptime: Adopting a multi-cloud or hybrid strategy also contributes significantly to enhanced resilience and uptime for your applications and services. By distributing your cloud resources across different providers and locations, businesses can achieve higher availability and uptime. This is because this way you mitigate the risk of localized failures and receive a seamless user experience even in the face of service disruptions. Furthermore, a hybrid approach, integrating on-premises infrastructure with public and private clouds, allows for better disaster recovery strategies and load balancing capabilities.

Cloud Transformation

#7 Security and Compliance

Security is a timeless classic, always trendy. Ensuring robust security and compliance is paramount in the cloud landscape. As businesses migrate sensitive data and critical workloads to the cloud, they must adopt strict security measures and adhere to compliance regulations to protect their assets and maintain trust with stakeholders and customers alike. 

Cloud security and compliance are critical due to the many risks and regulatory requirements associated with storing and processing data in distributed and potentially international locations. A data breach or security incident can have severe consequences, including financial loss, reputational damage, and legal consequences. Compliance with industry standards and regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS, is essential to avoid fines and legal issues.

   - Protection of Sensitive Data: Securing sensitive data in the cloud involves implementing multiple layers of defense to safeguard against breaches and cyber threats. This includes enforcing strong access controls, encryption both in transit and at rest, and regular security patching and updates to address vulnerabilities. Additionally, businesses should conduct regular security audits and penetration testing to identify and resolve potential security gaps proactively. These efforts ensure that sensitive data remains protected, reducing the risk of costly data breaches and preserving the integrity of the organization.

   - Compliance with Regulations: As mentioned before, navigating the many international, national, and industry-specific regulations is a critical aspect of any cloud strategy. Businesses must ensure their cloud infrastructure complies with standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS, depending on the nature of their data and operations. Cloud providers often offer tools and services designed to help organizations meet compliance requirements, such as automated compliance checks and audit trails. Failing to adhere to these regulations can result in significant legal penalties and financial losses, not to mention damage to the organization's reputation. 

   - Maintained Trust with Customers and Partners: Trust is the cornerstone of your business success. Your customers and partners expect that their data will be handled with the utmost care and that the services provided will be secure and reliable. Showing a strong commitment to security and compliance helps build and maintain this trust. Transparent communication about data protection practices and quick responses to any security incidents reassure your clients that the organization is responsible and cares about them. Moreover, obtaining relevant certifications can further validate the organization's commitment to cloud security and compliance. This trust not only helps in retaining existing customers but also enhances the organization's reputation, attracting new business opportunities and long-term partnerships.

Parting Thoughts 

The cloud landscape is dynamic, and these trends highlight the direction in which it's heading. By integrating these trends into your cloud strategy, you can stay ahead of the competition and ensure your business is future-ready.

Feeling inspired and ready to transform your cloud strategy but don’t know where to start? Our team of experts is here to help you navigate your cloud transformation journey, ensuring a smooth transition and the deployment of all the right cloud trends that best fit your business needs.

More helpful resources: 

   Microsoft Azure vs. AWS vs. Google Cloud: Which One to Choose? 
   Mastering Azure's Well-Architected Framework for Cloud Success
   7 Benefits of Azure Cloud Migration from On-Premises Data Centers
   How to Streamline the Process of Migration to the Cloud? 
   Top 10 Cloud Migration Challenges and How to Overcome Them? 
   A Guide to Successful Migration to the Cloud: Benefits, Approaches, and Best Practices
   - Azure Security Best Practices: Safeguarding Your Cloud Environment 

Sona Dabaghyan

Content Writer

Sona, a content writer at VOLO, with a track record spanning over 5 years in the writing and editing industry, delivers high-quality, engaging, and informative content, including blog posts, guest posts, e-books, and case studies for the company. In addition to her writing skills, Sona also does translations from Armenian to English and vice versa.

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