Making the ‘internet of clouds’ a reality

Digital clouds against a blue background.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

The way businesses think about cloud is changing. Cloud is no longer considered a siloed IT focused goal to aspire to – it is a shift in mindset, a new way of working, and the core of digital strategy.

This is particularly prevalent in the UK, a market which has seen a high level of maturity in cloud adoption. Adept at creating new cloud-based products and services, businesses are moving towards a focus on mission criticality and operational resilience.

With cloud widely accepted as a key pillar for most business strategy, how can business leaders learn from experience and take advantage of new opportunities and potential in the cloud market? What role can cloud providers play in facilitating this?

Learning from our cloud past

Businesses were already embracing cloud-based systems for many years but the pandemic accelerated this transition, shining a spotlight on the critical role of cloud during the almost overnight shift to remote working. For many, this required a cultural reset – both in terms of work/life balance and their digital strategy – putting technology at the center. Ensuring business continuity was top of the agenda, and adopting cloud, was one of the quickest ways to ensure their business could continue without disruption.

All industries must learn from inefficiencies of the past and adapt their cloud strategy to suit present day needs. With a large selection of cloud solutions and providers to choose from, businesses are quickly realizing that they are not bound to one cloud and its products but have a variety of options available to choose from to address their particular challenges. In a recent survey, nearly all (98%) of enterprises said they are using or plan to use at least two cloud infrastructure providers and almost a third (31%) are using four or more.

Jason Rees

Jason Rees is Vice President of Technology Solutions and Cloud Engineering for EMEA at Oracle.

A move to multi-cloud

Today, there is a wider market to explore, and businesses have more options than ever when choosing cloud solutions that work for their specific needs.

The evolution of cloud can be compared to the internet boom, where customers started with limited services offered by just one provider, then later were able to access any internet service without barriers. Similarly, cloud has come a long way, and it is far easier to consume and integrate all the services businesses want from varied providers in a multi-cloud strategy – businesses have the power of choice.

As leaders start to discover the selection of cloud products available and build a multi-cloud strategy, they must ensure that all elements work effectively together. Cloud providers can help share knowledge and expertise in the transition to a multi-cloud strategy, reducing pressure on internal engineering teams and ensuring that customers are free to choose any applications or service, from any cloud provider, to benefit their business.

Cloud providers must act now to achieve a true ‘internet of clouds’

While business appetite for cloud is important, a clear digital strategy will depend on alignment with the required business outcomes and identifying what else can be achieved above the current technology operating model. As stated before, businesses want the freedom to choose the service that best meets their needs, working towards an ‘internet of clouds’ - where businesses can mix and match services from multiple clouds. However, cloud providers have a responsibility to their customers to enable this transition.

Following the realisation that choice and an open market is now the norm, the industry needs to make it easier for customers to move to this ‘internet of clouds’. Cloud providers need to pick up more responsibility to make clouds work together, smoothing the transition when businesses want to integrate their services across multiple clouds. In the past, providers may have encouraged businesses to house all services under one roof, but collaborating with other clouds makes it easier to scale operations and add useful services.

Ultimately the responsibility lies with the cloud industry to work together to provide real and achievable choice, putting customer needs at the center of cloud offerings to provide the utmost business value, and celebrating success together as long-term partners.

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Jason Rees is Vice President of Technology Solutions and Cloud Engineering for EMEA at Oracle.