What’s next for the cloud in 2020?

When it comes to the fast-paced world of cloud computing, change is the only constant. Here are a few things to look out for in the cloud space in the coming year.

The growth of multi-cloud

The multi-cloud approach is on the rise, and we’ll likely see a continued climb in this trend in the coming year as more organizations seek to spread their digital eggs across multiple vendor baskets.

Many businesses, especially smaller ones, are still contemplating a move to the cloud and are likely to opt for a hybrid approach. But as more firms seek to get the most out of their cloud computing strategy, we’ll likely see an uptick in those utilizing multiple vendors to get the best performance and the best deal.

The multi-cloud strategy is attractive for many reasons. Despite the obvious convenience of having one centralized point of contact for all IT services, the reality is that engaging with multiple providers reduces vendor lock-in, gives customers more flexibility to select the best cloud product for their workload, and minimizes the risk of service disruptions.

Rather than battling for customer exclusivity, 2020 could be the year that cloud providers begin to come to terms with this emergent tactic and start planning services in a way that better facilitates their customers’ multi-cloud architecture.

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Hybrid computing as a destination, not a journey

Despite all the benefits that the cloud promises, not every business has rushed to take their operations online. Whether it’s down to security concerns, interdependencies, restrictive data compliance regulations, or lack of necessary skills, some organizations have preferred to keep a foot in each boat, adopting a hybrid cloud approach.

Many cloud vendors have been sympathetic to businesses who’re opting to sit on the fence, providing hybrid services to gradually get customers entirely online in the coming years.

However, this year we’re likely to see more customers deciding to stick with hybrid as a long-term solution rather than a stop-gap to going full-cloud. Hybrid architectures allow organizations to keep sensitive data in-house while still being able to manage fluctuating capacity demands and maximize up-time.

Research predicts that the demand for hybrid cloud will be driven by the desire for cost efficiency, scalability, agility and security, and that this demand will grow its market revenue to around $98bn by 2023.

The democratization of AI services

AI is no longer a thing of tomorrow, nor is it a passing trend. AI is more accessible than ever; a growing market of easily consumable, off-the-shelf tools are helping businesses do more, faster, across countless areas of their operations.

According to a recent survey by IBM, 40% of businesses now use AI. In the next two years, this number is on track to grow by up to 90%.

From cutting down time-to-hire to analyzing crucial business data, to offering a more personalized experience for users, AI is going to be a vital aspect of business transformation in the coming year. Any organization that seizes on the opportunity that AI presents now will put themselves ahead of their competitors as AI and machine learning become increasingly democratized.

The rise of quantum computing

Last year, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM all made steps toward making the future of computing a reality.

Quantum computing will let computers and servers process information at speeds previously undreamt of.

As our grasp of quantum computing improves, this powerful new tool will make waves across a range of areas and industries. Cryptography, for example, will likely be upended by quantum computing thanks to its capacity to undo sophisticated encryption quickly.

It’ll allow us to solve problems, analyze data, and create forecasts far more quickly and accurately than traditional computing methods.

Complex modeling tasks will be made easier too, leading to advancements in areas like aviation, self-driving cars, and medical research.

Though we might still be several major breakthroughs away from quantum computing being widely accessible, this year will see the launch of the first publicly available cloud-based ion trap machines.

Quantum solutions firms IonQ and Honeywell are partnering with AWS and Microsoft respectively to offer access to their quantum processors, allowing customers to experiment with quantum hardware in a fully managed environment.

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How can businesses prepare?

The advances in cloud computing that are on the horizon have the potential to massively impact the way we work, run businesses, and deliver services. But from AI to quantum computing, there’s one thing that companies of all shapes and sizes need to take advantage of these new developments: talent.

The failure of the tech talent pool to keep pace with the growth of cloud computing and meet the demand for skilled cloud professionals is already creating fierce competition in the hiring market.

As more businesses make a move to the cloud, that chasm between supply and demand will only grow. Gartner predicts that revenue from the public cloud service market will grow 56% between 2019 and 2022, rising to $355bn a year. But with too few cloud professionals available, and traditional methods of education lagging, it’s estimated that 30% of high-demand roles for emerging technologies will remain unfilled through 2022.

With roles going unfilled in both cloud customers and consultancies alike, many organizations’ cloud projects will be held up, which could significantly dent the rate of successful, impactful cloud adoption.

A recent survey found that 94% of IT leaders are finding it challenging to hire for roles such as DevOps engineers, cloud developers, and multi-cloud operators. Unless someone comes across a magical spring of cloud pros in the next year, this dearth of qualified talent isn’t going anywhere. If businesses want to keep their digital ambitions on the tracks, they need to start thinking ahead about where the skills they need are going to come from.

Here are a few ways that organizations can push back on the cloud talent gap:

Be the employer that cloud talent wants to work for

The battle to attract the best cloud talent is fierce. Those with in-demand skills can have their pick of employers, so businesses should think very carefully about what they’re offering, and how they can create an environment (and a benefits package) that will make the best people want to join, and stay with, your team.

Upskill current employees

The answer doesn’t always lie outside your walls when it comes to getting the skills you need. If the market isn’t able to yield enough new professionals to fill every role, businesses need to look at their existing resources and invest in upskilling their staff. Creating career paths for employees that will imbue them with new skills and responsibilities is a fantastic way to make the most of the resource you have, while also creating a culture of life-long learning and development.

Think outside the box on talent creation

When traditional methods of education can’t keep up with the ever-changing demands of the tech market, looking at alternative talent creation initiatives to get the talent you can’t develop internally can be a game-changer. Engaging with cross-training and on-the-job programs can help you fill seats and get access to certified new talent entering the ecosystem

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