Re-examining APAC’s ‘Cloud Rush’ during COVID-19

It is time to relook some decisions that businesses might have rushed into during the height of the pandemic

The first year of the pandemic induced an unprecedented rush to the cloud as enterprises sought a lifeline to ensure business continuity and resilience. Almost overnight, IT teams had to implement everything from remote working to fully digital processes for procurement, sales, services, and more.

It was therefore no surprise that our region’s public cloud spending in 2020 rose by 38 percent to US$36.4 billion. For context, pre-COVID projections would have had our public cloud spending reach this level only in 2022 or 2023.

As our economies remain in a fragile state, all businesses must continue to exercise financial prudence. Where the cloud has been effective in helping organisations respond quickly to disruption and changing work patterns, uncontrolled and unforeseen costs from cloud adoption in the longer term can be debilitating. 

Now that the dust is settling, it is time for organisations to revisit past decisions and consider where cloud costs can be optimised, without compromising the desire to build back better. 

The reality of cloud overload

Cloud usage within the enterprise is like a household’s electricity consumption model. Like how a utility provider manages a power generator on your behalf, organisations can rely on a cloud provider to outsource data centre maintenance while benefiting from built-in capabilities like high availability, scalability, and secure infrastructure. Like convenient access to electricity, cloud performance is built for remote access and operates under a flexible pay-as-you-consume model. However, leaving it on unnecessarily will rack up a higher than anticipated monthly bill.

After initially moving everything to the cloud, organisations are now having difficulties monitoring and managing consumption across their various cloud deployments. This is what we call cloud sprawl – or the proliferation of uncontrolled cloud use. This issue has resulted in 30 percent of cloud spend being wasted.

To avoid wastage, cloud agnostic cost optimisation tools that deliver granular, real-time visibility across the entire hybrid IT infrastructure are critical for governing and remediating situations that drive-up costs.

From ‘lift-and-shift’ to ‘lift-and-transform’

Many organisations that accelerated cloud adoption during lockdowns used a “lift-and-shift” approach. Lift-and-shift, where on-premises workloads are replicated completely in the cloud, is the quickest method to ensuring business services remain available to a suddenly distributed workforce and external users. 

It may be tempting for businesses to simply migrate everything to the cloud, but the reality is never that simple. While it is technically possible to perform any business task in the cloud, it does not mean that every on-premises workflow and application – in its present state or form – is optimised to do so. Businesses may face compatibility issues, such as the original code of applications running on outdated software. Unnecessary costs may also be incurred from the transmission of data across different locations.

Enterprises must therefore consider which applications should be shifted back into an on-premise environment, modified for new cloud infrastructure, or fully re-architected to work in any cloud environment.

The silver lining of cloud migration

As businesses recover post-pandemic, the US$48.4 billion that our region is projected to spend on cloud computing this year should be utilised prudently. It is not too late to switch to a better cloud optimisation and migration strategy – one that ensures minimal disruption to data-dependent applications and accommodates your IT budget.

Choosing the right technology partner to unlock the best of cloud and data, while aligning for optimal value, is key for organisations that want to stay resilient and pursue prosperity in the months ahead.