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Fear of the Cloud is So 2018

Roland Alston, Appian
April 22, 2019

(This is the final installment of our 5-part series, Winning the Future: 5 Digital Trends You Can't Afford to Miss in 2019 and Beyond. Read part1here,part 2here,part 3here,and part 4 here.)

Did you hear that BOOM?That's the sound of cloud services breaking through the skepticism barrier and growing at nearly 3x the growth rate of general IT services. Here's the math:

    • Nearly 60% of North American enterprises now rely on public cloud platforms, 5x the percentage just five years ago (Forrester)

    • Worldwide public cloud revenue will top $330 billion in 2022, up from $182 billion in 2018 (Gartner)

    • Investment in platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will grow from 32% in 2016 to 56% in 2019 (KPMG)

    • By 2020, 67% of all enterprise IT infrastructure and software spending will be for cloud-based offerings (IDC)

    • By 2020, AI and cognitive functionality will be mostly sourced from the cloud (IDC)

    • Europe's public cloud market will grow at 22% per year until 2022 (CNBC)

    • By 2024, 90% of Global 1000 organizations will have a multi-cloud management strategy

Cloud Adoption Will Grow Even Faster

It turns out that many companies are doing advanced enterprise cloud implementations mostly to replace existing business applications with SaaS solutions. It's also worth noting that Forrester predicts the biggest cloud providers will get bigger, containers (a way of packaging software, i.e., Kubernets and Docker) will reshape every cloud platform, and the combination of low-cost infrastructure plus high-value development services will drive up cloud spending even faster.

If getting ahead of the curve on AI and cognitive functionality is at the top of your wish list, cloud is probably the fastest way to do it. It's also worth noting thatthe biggest cloud providers are already gearing up to offer AI as a Service. This includes cognitive computing services that would allow you to use custom data to train AI to deliver specialized services.

Bottom line: The explosive growth of AI demand is expected to drive the next wave of public cloud.

Is Fear of Cloud Security Holding You Back?

On the other hand, skeptics continue to question cloud security. But there's an argument to be made that the best cloud vendors may be better at cybersecurity than your in-house IT administrator. Which means that you could be more secure in the cloud than in your own data center.The best cloud services cover all of the major security domains and controls for safeguarding information.

It's also worth considering that for most companies, detecting suspicious patterns in massive amounts of operational data would be like mission impossible.Better to take advantage of cloud computing to quickly reap the benefits of automation, scalability, agility, flexibility and cost savings. Perhaps this is why many large companies are moving quickly to use a mix of private, hybrid, and public cloud to achieve their digital transformation goals.

"We are seeing a huge push from traditional on-premise environments to cloud. And the reason is that moving to the cloud allows organizations to concentrate on what their business applications are designed to do."

So says Omesh Agam, Chief Information Security Officer at Appian.

If You're Not Rapidly Deploying Technology via the Cloud, You're in Trouble

The blistering pace of digital transformation means that you can't afford to spend years deciding whether AI or Robotic Process Automation makes sense or not. That's because competitive advantage can evaporate in a flash.

"The pace of technology change, and the nature of disruptive competition makes the whole idea of elaborate requirements analysis you know, let's take a year or two to figure things out obsolete."

Stephen Andriole, Author and Professor of Business Technology, Villanova University

"The world has changed dramatically," says Andriole, "Today, if you're not rapidly deploying technology, you're in trouble. The question is, do you have the courage to challenge your existing business model, because you believe it has an expiration date? They all do."

Learn more:

Appian Cloud Availability & Security (Whitepaper)

Appian Cloud: Compliance Across All Industries (Video)

Appian is HIPAA Compliant (Video)