Mapping out what lies ahead for the UK’s cloud infrastructure in a new survey from techUK.
In 2016, techUK published its Cloud 2020 Vision report, which explored how the cloud computing market was evolving and offered key recommendations for how the UK was to realise the full benefits of cloud. Three years on, techUK is now updating this report, providing an opportunity to look at what the future may hold for cloud computing beyond 2020 and what will be needed to keep the UK at the forefront of cloud adoption and optimisation.
What is already clear is that, when talking about the future of cloud computing, we shouldn’t be trying to look too far into the future. Given the increasing pace of change, we are likely to see the market continue to respond to the emergence of innovative cloud models and services that meet customers’ needs over the next two to three years.
It was clear when we wrote our first report that cloud computing was becoming vital to the UK’s digital future. This has not changed. It is increasingly providing the essential data infrastructure, computing power, applications and platforms that are key to organisations, both large and small, being able to realise the full economic and social potential of emerging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital twins, the internet of things, biometrics and robotics. The next stage of our digital evolution will be enabled by the convergence of these, and other, emerging technologies. The cloud will enable and facilitate the seamless sharing of information and data between the increasingly autonomous devices and systems that will be our cities, homes, communities and workplaces of the future.
The good news is the UK has a thriving and continually growing cloud ecosystem. The UK was recently ranked fourth, behind Germany, Japan and the US, in a global report of cloud readiness . Since 2016 we have seen an increase in the number of organisations adopting a range of public, private and hybrid cloud models and cloud services.
But now is not the time to become complacent. There remains a long tail of organisations across the UK that are still not adopting or using the cloud. The power of cloud computing is key to enabling organisations to better interact with customers, increase operational efficiency, drive productivity and remain competitive. We must identify the issues holding organisations back from cloud adoption and ensure they do not simply get left behind.
To do this, techUK is exploring the key areas where action is needed to keep the UK at the forefront of cloud adoption and usage. Firstly, we must ensure that concerns around data portability and system interoperability are recognised, understood and addressed effectively in a way that builds confidence in the UK’s open and competitive cloud computing ecosystem. Also, concerns regarding connectivity remains an area where more work is needed. As more organisations move business-critical data and applications to the cloud, the ability to access cloud services is vital to their ongoing efficiency, productivity and growth.
Additionally, access to quality, resilient, low-latency connectivity has become a key organisational priority when moving to the cloud. Pushing our superfast connectivity coverage to as close to 100 per cent in homes and businesses across the UK as we can is important for the future of cloud in the UK.
Building trust and confidence in the security of cloud computing services also remains fundamental to the adoption and use of cloud. While the security benefits of cloud services are clearer now, more organisations need help to adopt and use cloud services securely. For example, ensuring that security vulnerabilities which could already exist within an organisation’s data or infrastructure are addressed beforehand, and not simply “lifted and shifted” to the cloud, is a priority. We must also equip organisations more effectively with the skills necessary to smoothly transition to the cloud.
The exact cloud services and models that businesses and consumers will be using even three years from now is hard to predict thanks to the pace of innovation. What is clear it that cloud computing is going to remain fundamental to the next wave of our digital development. Making sure we create the right, supportive environment for organisations to adopt and use the wide range of cloud computing services already on offer today must be the priority for the here and now.