4 Cloud Trends to Watch for in 2022
It’s hard to believe we’re in the home stretch of 2021, and what a year it’s been. The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on IT priorities and budget, as business leaders embrace digital transformation as a means to navigate uncertainty and thrive over the long term.
There’s no doubt that COVID has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, but where does that take us over the next year? Gartner expects investment in technology to increase in 2022, reaching the highest levels seen over the last decade, despite the volatility many businesses experienced over the last year.
We’re seeing these investments play out in a number of areas, particularly as companies look to gain business agility, reduce their risks and fully maximize the benefits of the cloud and related technologies across all areas of their enterprise.
With this in mind, here is a look at four 2022 cloud trends to watch for next year.
1. Cloud DevOps Ramps Up
DevOps has been around for years, but the last 18 months of COVID have significantly impacted the nature and focus of DevOps initiatives as more companies migrate core functions of their businesses to the cloud. Today, modern Cloud DevOps practices have taken center stage—and are not only desirable as a set of skills and expertise, but are foundational to the successful adoption of next-generation cloud infrastructure.
The numbers are compelling—according to a recent report by Global Industry Analysts, the global market for DevOps, estimated at US$6 Billion last year, is projected to reach US$17.8 Billion by 2026. Another report by Accelerated Strategies Group, examining the long-term impact of remote work and software development, found that more than half of survey respondents said COVID-19 conditions have increased their focus on DevOps initiatives (51.75%) and increased their progress on cloud migration (52.25%).
We’re seeing Cloud DevOps gain traction among companies that have either recently migrated or are looking to gain more value and competitive advantage from their public cloud investments. Rather than treating the cloud as simply an extension of their existing data center, we’re seeing organizations take the next step in their cloud evolution and leverage Cloud DevOps as a means to drive innovation, efficiency and cost-savings through new cloud-native architectures and technologies—including automation, platform as a service (PaaS) infrastructure, microservice deployments and serverless computing.
Companies can take these next steps in the cloud because, unlike on-prem infrastructure, it’s never been easier, more affordable or low-risk to innovate. New infrastructure as code templates and cloud-native platform services from AWS, Azure and GCP provide DevOps engineers with a fresh canvas and unlimited space to experiment with new business workflows.
Organizations can spin up new services in the cloud with the click of a button, rather than having to invest significant time and money on purchasing and installing new hardware. With near limitless possibility, DevOps teams can experiment with workflows and cutover plans without impacting the rest of the business.
All this freedom adds up to one thing: a more innovative and competitive business. Expect to see Cloud DevOps initiatives ramp up in 2022 as organizations look to gain these benefits—the only barrier: finding DevOps engineers with skills to take on these initiatives. And that’s a challenge we’re seeing among many of the mid-market companies we work with—from DevOps engineers to developers to cybersecurity expertise.
To learn more about Cloud DevOps and its importance as a 2022 cloud trend, watch our on-demand webinar: DevOps Automation on AWS: How to Free Your Teams and Deploy Faster.
2. It’s All About Automation
In the push to embrace digital transformation, automation has risen to the top of the list as a pivotal enabler—supported by a number of technologies including robotic process automation (RPA), AI and other business process automation tools. Whatever you want to call it—IDC says intelligent automation, Gartner says hyperautomation—companies are prioritizing these projects to simplify complexity and create more agile, flexible IT architectures that can drive efficiency, agility and cost savings.
Take RPA, for example, which enables companies to replace repetitive, error-prone manual processes with automated rules-based workloads that improve productivity, performance, data quality and speed—freeing resources to focus on value-added projects and human engagement. Here are just a few examples of practical use cases for RPA that businesses can apply to their processes and operations:
- Accounts receivable/payable, invoice processing, claims processing
- Payroll, hiring, candidate management
- Inventory management, order processing, vendor communication
- Customer service, contact centers interactions
Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve seen an acceleration of RPA and other process-based automation as companies face enormous pressure to do more with less, and faster. Despite this pressure—or perhaps because of it—the RPA market is growing at double-digit rates, according to Gartner, which forecasts global RPA software revenue to reach $1.89 billion in 2021, an increase of 19.5% from 2020.
We see no signs of this cloud trend slowing down in 2022, as organizations continue to tap automation tools and technologies to optimize business processes both on-prem and in the cloud. To give you a real-world example of the transformative nature of automation, consider the case of a major memorabilia/collectibles company: When the company shifted to a remote workforce, an unforeseen administrative challenge surfaced for the company. They couldn’t afford to send industrial-strength printers and equipment to people’s homes. This created an impossible situation for the accounts payable team, as their jobs required a lot of printing, scanning and collating of documentation to pay suppliers.
To support them, we built an RPA bot that automated the entire payment process, eliminating months of backlog and freeing the accounts payable team to focus on other projects, such as measuring supplier performance.
3. Blurring of Cloud Lines
Despite a majority of IT decision-makers listing cloud migration as a top priority, the reality is that many organizations haven’t gotten there yet. In fact, at last year’s re:Invent conference, AWS Chief Executive Andy Jassy stated that 96% of the IT industry still resides in on-premises data centers rather than on the cloud. While there has been a significant push to the cloud since then, a sizeable share of IT infrastructure remains on-premises—and public cloud providers are well aware of this opportunity
Many of these on-premises systems are tied to core, revenue-generating processes—and with good reason. Often, they’re bound by specific regulatory compliance or technical requirements. These workloads demand the highest performance levels, leaving no room for error or latency. Companies aren’t willing to risk these workloads in the public cloud.
Public cloud providers have recognized these inhibitors and have responded by creating an alternate path—not to the cloud, but from the cloud. Today, all three hyperscalers offer market-branded kits—such as AWS Outposts, Azure Stack Hub and Google Distributed Cloud (recently announced at the Google Cloud Next 2021). These solutions enable customers to leverage the public cloud in virtually any on-premises data center. This gives the hyperscalers a greater footprint in customer environments and enables their customers to fully leverage the benefits of the public cloud while maintaining high-performance levels.
While these offerings are fairly new, they’re gaining momentum: Gartner’s 2021 look at the worldwide IaaS market notes that, “Hyperscale providers are continuing to build distributed cloud and edge solutions that extend the public cloud’s reach into private and on-premise locations.” And IDC recently gave this trend a name: Dedicated (Local) Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (DClaaS).
For more information on this emerging 2022 cloud trend, read our blog: Can’t Move to the Public Cloud? Then the Cloud Will Come to You.
4. Focus on Cybersecurity Leadership
Organizations recognize the need for C-level cybersecurity leadership to address the growing volume and variety of today’s sophisticated cyber threats—yet finding that leader is more difficult, time-consuming and expensive than ever.
This challenge was underscored in a new report from Navisite that surveyed 130 security, IT and compliance professionals from U.S. businesses of all sizes to determine their perceptions on the state of cybersecurity leadership. The survey found that 45% of respondents admit their company does not employ a CISO/CSO, and of that group, 58% of those think they should.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “sitting CISOs at large U.S. companies are in great demand,” with a comparatively limited candidate pool. This has led to seven-figure salaries, high turnover and a long recruitment process. Instead of trying to battle for this expertise, organizations are turning to outsourced virtual CISO or vCISO services. At a high level, these services give companies on-demand access to the cybersecurity leadership, expertise and guidance, without having to deal with the headache of employee recruitment and retention.
With the continued onslaught of cyberattacks expected in 2022—we expect to see continued demand for vCISO services, making this a cloud trend to watch in 2022. A strong vCISO program generally runs the gamut from cybersecurity risk assessments and security roadmap development to governance and continuous improvement.
To learn how Navisite’s vCISO Service can help you bridge the cybersecurity leadership gap, read the eBook: 6 Signs a Virtual CISO May Be Right For You.