As we approach the end of March, Q1 2021, it’s reasonable to have a look back at the first three months of the year, given the extreme circumstances we’re all still experiencing, and, perhaps, allow ourselves a peak into the future; what does the remainder of 2021 have in store for us?
Unsurprisingly, we started the year looking at the business implications, of the then new Covid-19 vaccine, and we considered: ‘Why Vaccines Make Business Different From Personal Life.’ Lockdown three meant that we’d all got to suck up more personal privation, but for businesses with ambition things didn’t change much in January. These firms had already adjusted and adapted. The vaccine simply meant that they could start to act with greater confidence, even though our personal lives were still constrained.
Nevertheless, we concluded, just like many other business decisions makers, that ‘normality’ wasn’t likely any time soon, and that: ‘An Angry Mob of Covid Issues’ would persist for the rest of the year, and beyond.
Talking to our customers and partners during January and February, it was interesting to see how attitudes towards IT and tech were subtly evolving, partly, we think, in response to the immediate impact of the pandemic, but also to the potential opportunities that were becoming more obvious. For example, what are the ‘Pressures Driving the Direction of Cloud’ and how are hi-tech businesses responding? Clearly the time when we either did or didn’t do Cloud is behind us, replaced by a much more complex set of Cloud infrastructure requirements that are pushing the demands on Cloud further and further.
If nothing else, the pandemic has now convinced nearly everyone that change in the business world today is widespread and hard to predict, anything is possible. Increasingly our customers tell us that any hidden constraints and barriers conspire against their agility and responsiveness and undermine their ability to successfully navigate through the challenges and on towards achieving their objectives and ambitions.
Our blog: ‘Why Your Independence Matters in the Cloud’ took a look at the issues of freedom of choice, agility and flexibility and how they underpin the crucial independence business decision makers need to go beyond technical Cloud specifications to include the needs of the business and the dynamics of change.
Building on the theme of ‘Cloud is more than a technology,’ we took a more detailed look at the involvement of CFOs in Cloud and tech decision making. In ‘Why Cloud Now Matters for the CFO’ we suggested that as the use of Cloud has extended through deeper and wider penetration across the organisation, and as the demands on the infrastructure have grown with the scale and complexity of the technology workloads, its use could no longer simply be seen as a tech decision and one purely for the CTO.
The growing demands this places on the business for skills and workload, time and attention and cost, are making Cloud a critical item in the budget and for operations to manage that will be felt in Finance and HR, as well as IT.
Tech in general and how it can be used to enable flexibility and agility, especially amongst start-ups, was looked at in: ‘Why Astute Tech Start-ups Have the Edge On Success.’ Specifically, are those running start-ups more likely to make wise choices that are right for tomorrow as well as today, and be able to be flexible in execution in response to the opportunities and challenges that always comes as scaling and momentum build?
So looking forward to the rest of 2021 and beyond, what might we expect? Unquestionably, the impact of the pandemic will continue to influence not only our personal lives, but business decision making as well. Hopefully this impact will alter as the vaccine roll-out takes effect; ushering in an increasingly positive outlook as ambitious and innovative organisations start to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by Covid-inspired new working practices, attitudes and requirements.
In line with this environment of continuous change and opportunity, we fully anticipate that flexibility will go on growing in importance, which will increasingly influence attitudes towards the Cloud; replacing the perceived ‘convenience’ of Cloud brand loyalty with a more pragmatic approach that looks at Cloud not as a ‘brand,’ but as a generic business enabler and strategic asset that should be put to work to support growth and success; with less emphasis on where it comes from, but rather the business challenges it allows you to address. It was once commonly said that: ‘No one got fired for buying IBM.’ Well, perhaps we’ve had a bit of this in the Cloud market, but it, also, may be becoming less relevant in 2021 and in a world working its way beyond Covid?
Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion MSP
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