Why COVID-19 Is Driving Companies Toward the Cloud


2020-bl-covid-19-the-cloud_625wIt didn’t take long for COVID-19 to thrust society into uncharted territory. Along with the concepts of social distancing and designer masks, the pandemic forced the hand of IT departments across the globe. Urgency and adaptability became the theme for organizations as they were suddenly tasked with enabling their entire workforce to work remotely. This scenario has largely been the impetus for more companies accelerating their migration to the cloud.

Why the Upswing in Cloud Adoption?

Companies need the agility and scalability of the cloud, which enables them to quickly adapt and maintain business continuity during the unprecedented chain of events. COVID-19 has been disruptive to say the least. But it has also been a wake-up call to the likelihood of other circumstances that could drive the need for more computing power. In fact, a significant number of firms are already planning around that possibility:

  • In March 2020, Gartner polled 317 CFOs and finance leaders. The results revealed that post-COVID 19, 74% intend to move at least 5% of their workforce to permanent remote status.1
  • A June 2020 survey conducted by Snow Software revealed that 82% of 250 IT leaders from mid- and enterprise-sized organizations have increased their overall cloud usage in response to the pandemic.2
  • Data from a 2020 report on cloud usage prepared by IT management software firm Flexera cites that of the 750 decision-makers polled, 59% expect cloud use to exceed their initial plans due to the pandemic.3
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How Thousands of Students and Faculty Stayed Connected During Lockdown

One week prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, the University of Sussex faced a monumental challenge. Only 100 members of the faculty and staff had the ability to access the school remotely. The organization had previously mapped out a five-year plan to modernize its IT infrastructure. However, when the pandemic hit, the IT staff needed to step up the cloud migration.

In short, over the course of a week, the institution’s IT department implemented cloud-based applications, networking and videoconferencing technology. Now, 3,000 staff and 19,000 students can connect and access necessary systems and data from remote locations.4

A Dynamic Business Environment

Operating in a cloud environment, a company can sustain business continuity as well as accommodate all the functions needed for effective remote access:

  • Secure access to organizational systems and databases from various mobile devices outside the company’s IT environment.
  • Video conferencing and other collaboration capabilities.
  • Robust datacenter, IT components and sufficient bandwidth to ensure a high level of system performance along with enabling frequent data transmissions and retrievals.
  • The ability to interact and exchange data with third-party companies outside the company’s firewall.

These are just a few types of technologies necessary for maintaining an optimal level of productivity with a geographically dispersed staff. Given this operational paradigm, the notion of transitioning to the cloud is no longer if, it’s how fast organizations can make it happen in order to ensure resiliency in the face of changing business conditions.

Advantages of the Cloud for the Life Sciences Industry

Advanced technologies are within reach for organizations of all types and sizes. That said, in the life sciences industry, regulatory bodies are raising their expectations of companies and their ability to achieve compliance. Operating in a cloud environment allows regulated companies to:

  • Attain an enterprise-wide view of compliance risk.
  • Leverage big data in compliance.
  • Build regulatory engagement into business models.
  • Ensure data integrity compliance, reduce risk and enhance patient outcomes.

"Preparing documents for the FDA, we had to compile and summarize studies and data from many different researchers and reports. Now that everything is on the cloud, it’s really easy to gather what we need for the FDA filing.” - Sarindr Ik Bhumiratana, Chief Scientific Officer, EpiBone

Evolving at the Speed of Innovation

Allowing remote access to company applications and data during and after COVID-19 is only a part of the cloud’s contribution. Innovative technologies have also had a significant impact on the business dynamic.

For instance, data has become a key ingredient in business models. Companies are shifting into high gear to gather and organize data and gain value from it while the information is still current and actionable. When critical decisions need to be made quickly, it’s important to have all eyes reviewing data and providing input simultaneously.

Dissolving silos and establishing a collaborative culture has never been more important. For instance, in the life sciences sector, the engagement strategies of regulators are changing dramatically to accommodate modernized methods of interacting with companies.

Operating in a secure cloud environment is how disparate business units can continue to collaborate seamlessly as well as monitor and analyze data in real time. Team members can observe production and performance statistics to catch and mitigate issues before they escalate and become costly — all from their remote workstations.

How the Cloud Underpins the Long-Term Business Strategy

It’s unclear how the COVID-19 scenario will play out. However, it’s safe to assume that a full return to normalcy could be a long way out. That said, many of the adjustments companies are currently making to be resilient during the pandemic could become the norm. Harnessing the power of the cloud is the foundation that will ensure your company’s relevance well into the future.

References

  1. Gartner CFO Survey Reveals 74% intend to Shift Some Employees to Remote Work Permanently,” Gartner Newsroom, April 3, 2020, https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-04-03-gartner-cfo-survey-reveals-74-percent-of-orgs-to-shift-some-employees-to-remote-work-permanently
  2. Cloud Use Surges Even as Businesses Plan Return to the Workplace, Finds New Snow Software Survey,” Snow Software News Release, June 16, 2020. https://www.snowsoftware.com/company/news/cloud-use-surges-even-businesses-plan-return-workplace-finds-new-snow-software-survey#.XuefUEVKhPY 
  3. 2020 State of the Cloud Report,” Flexera, https://resources.flexera.com/web/pdf/report-state-of-the-cloud-2020.pdf.
  4. How a Massive Five-Year Transformation Plan Was Delivered in a Week Because of Coronavirus,” Mark Samuels, ZDNet, April 7, 2020. https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-a-massive-five-year-transformation-plan-was-delivered-in-a-week-because-of-coronavirus/


2019-bl-author-david-jensenDavid Jensen is a content marketing specialist at MasterControl, where he is responsible for researching and writing content for web pages, white papers, brochures, emails, blog posts, presentation materials and social media. He has over 25 years of experience producing instructional, marketing and public relations content for various technology-related industries and audiences. Jensen writes extensively about cybersecurity, data integrity, cloud computing and medical device manufacturing. He has published articles in various industry publications such as Medical Product Outsourcing (MPO) and Bio Utah. Jensen holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Weber State University and a master’s degree in professional communication from Westminster College.


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