Even after achieving two years of digitalization within two months, tapping on cloud technology will still pivot around these perennial priorities.

From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, Slack and everything in between, cloud-delivery technologies have underpinned the year’s global transition to a distributed remote workforce.

A Gartner study suggested that after the pandemic, almost half of all employees will work remotely at least part of the time, highlighting the need for greater digital dexterity and the provision of flexible work options appropriate for a mixed/remote workforce.

What are four things that organizations need to know about cloud computing in order to take optimal advantage of new technological opportunities and survive competitively?

  1. ‘Pivot’ is the word of the year
    This word best describes the new approach to business strategy. Businesses that were complacent in the past are finding they now have the most work to do, whereas in comparison, organizations that had implemented agile and flexible digital strategies are probably making only manageable adjustments.

    The solution for many businesses during this time of upheaval has been to adopt the Cloud for data management and storage, as well as for increased security. The almost overnight ‘shift to digital’ has highlighted the need for enterprises to ensure that the Cloud is part of all business continuity plans.

    They need to get back up and running quickly, identify bespoke and cost-effective cloud computing solutions, and ensure appropriate security measures are in place so that employees can work remotely without the fear of cybersecurity issues.

    Out of necessity comes innovation, and the pandemic has applied immense pressure on businesses to pivot, re-evaluate and consult experts on ever-evolving challenges. So pivot well, relying on specialist consultants with the requisite cloud expertise that can help address short- to long- term sustainable solutions.
  2. Introducing the Chief Continuity Officer (CCO)
    C-suite roles are constantly evolving so it only makes sense to create a role that will withstand the test of time. Like the need to rehearse for fire drills, the reality is that business leaders must be prepared for worst-case scenarios so as to feel equipped to handle potential crises with ease.

    Enter the role of the Chief Continuity Officer: the C-suite leader responsible for answering the question: how can we best prepare our organization for future potential crises and what steps must be taken to achieve this? Preparedness is the key to future-proofing any organization.

    With disaster recovery and business continuity as core competencies, organizations must now have a dedicated person to lead from the front and set a clear example for others to follow.

    Going forward, the CCO role will be of high importance as organizations need to make sure that their continuity plan is up to date and every vital system is backed up. Customers want the same consistency in terms of experience, whether the business is WFH or in the office.

    This applies to every industry, every crisis and every global disaster: great companies, as long as they are still standing, will have no excuse for poor customer service and support.
  3. Digital commerce will continue to expand
    There has been a rapid shift towards a digitally-native landscape as young generations are more acquainted with spending time online and are familiar with making purchasing decisions from the comfort of their homes.

    The uptrend in online shopping is set to continue even after countries relax physical restrictions. According to one study, across Southeast Asia, consumers have been spending more for essential goods on online platforms, and more than a quarter (28%) have tried a new e-commerce app since the virus broke out.

    While many businesses have already adopted e-commerce solutions, there is now a real opportunity to break ahead of competitors and become true e-commerce pioneers in FY21. A simple step any untransformed organization can take towards pandemic-proofing its business strategy is to leverage cloud platforms to support business continuity and provide exceptional digital customer experiences.
  4. Focus on security and automation
    The increase in e-commerce sites is creating a need for a refocus on automation and security.

    During the pandemic, businesses have been caught out by cyber attackers. The shortage of technical security staff, the rapid migration to cloud computing, ever-tightening regulatory compliance requirements and the unrelenting evolution of threats continue to be the most significant ongoing major security challenges.

    The CCO will employ automation to ensure continuity and efficiency, bringing greater value to businesses and ensuring that work is not bogged down with simple tasks. Practical examples of automation in the region using robots to deliver food to quarantined guests, all-digital self-service convenience shops and the use of chat bots.

When the pandemic is behind us, the next frontier for digital transformation will be for security to work with automation teams to ensure the business is secure during any future global risks of the same or greater magnitude.

In fact, this is not just an issue of cloud—it is an acceleration of the need to step change. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says it well: “As COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our work and life, we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

After addressing the immediate surge demands, going forward we need to bear the four factors above in mind to tackle the systemic, structural changes across all of the solution areas affecting how we will live, work and play in the new normal.