The COVID pandemic was an unprecedented challenge for the whole world. Lockdowns were introduced, social restrictions imposed, supply chains broken. However humanity had one big friend and supporter during these times of trial – the Cloud (as symbolic of the Heavens as it may sound).
The technology behind cloud computing was there prior to the pandemic. All of the IT giants (Google, Microsoft, IBM) had set up shops in the cloud. Software as a service (SaaS) had become the norm. Infrastructure as a service was gradually replacing in house hardware. However it was exactly during the pandemic that the Cloud took off, by helping virtually all sectors of human activity:
As the virus outbreak is a health issue, it is no wonder that healthcare was one of the first massive adopters of the cloud technology. Doctors were able to consult their patients over a wide range of tele-medicine platforms. COVID statistics were monitored by all in the cloud. Personal health records are digitalized all over the globe.
The cloud has provided not only a convenient way to continue working in a lock down, but also strongly extending the reach of healthcare workers.
With social distancing requirements imposed, and complete lockdowns occurring it was the Cloud which facilitated many employees to continue working from home.
Platforms for virtual collaboration which were used by connoisseurs only, quickly became house-hold names. Microsoft Teams, Zoom Meeting and Skype conferencing became the standard for remote work.
Now, almost two years after the outbreak of COVID, it is clear that remote work is here to stay, just because it is so much more efficient – both for employees and employers.
In its Q3 2021 Forecast Gartner expects the share of remote workers within knowledge workers to reach 53% in 2025.
E-learning was an innovation used by just a few universities, and it was usually tech focused. The good thing was that the technology was there. The pandemic lockdowns transferred overnight all schools into their virtual self. The cloud helped our kids continue with their learning process for more than an year. Today it will be difficult to find a school or university without a digital learning curriculum.
Only a few months from the start of the pandemic, Satya Nadella - the CEO of Microsoft said that his company experienced “two years of digital transformation in two months”. Massively enterprises of all industries were adopting cloud technology for their activities. En masse retailers are switching to cloud e-commerce. Digital first banks and insurers are continuously popping up. Governments are putting into place strategies for cloud governance and services to the citizens.
The added value, which the Cloud has provided to all is more than evident in the rates of growth of the cloud market. Gartner suggest that cloud computing has enjoyed tremendous growth during the pandemic years and this will persist into the future. Certain segments of the cloud are growing at rates of reaching 70% y/y in 2021. The whole cloud sector is set to grow at about 25% average in the coming years.
The cloud has helped us and is here to stay.