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The burning questions at the recent DIGIT Leaders conference were ones we all have right now. What does the future of work look like? And, how do we get there?

To get started, lets look at some of the most significant trends and changes of the past 15 months. What were the key business models changes during COVID-19?

COVID-19 has accelerated business change like never before. In a matter of weeks, whole sectors of the economy made changes to where and how they work that had been anticipated to take 5 or more years. Remote or hybrid working became a reality for many with 35.9% of the UK employed population doing some work from home during 2020. Retail and hospitality businesses of all sizes moved and grew their online offering rapidly and to do this, new systems were quickly adopted for ordering, delivery, logistic and demand management. Service providers across both the public and private sector pivoted to offer new, automated ways to access services both remotely and onsite such as online appointments or digital menus and manufacturers turned to automated processes to meet the twin challenges: reducing workplace density while maintaining or increasing production. At the same time, AI adoption rates increased to better predict and respond to fluctuating demand and manage supply chain and logistical challenges.

Although in person activity will increase, both staff and customers now know what is possible and will expect continued choice in how, when and where they interact with your business. Surveys, such as that by Strathclyde University, are regularly showing almost 80% of respondents wish to maintain some home working with over 30% preferring not to spend any time in the office. Think with Google have also reported that online will remain the key shopping channel across fashion, beauty and telco over the next 6 months across all age groups with omni-channel shopping likely to become a permanent change.

So how did digital transformation enable businesses to rapidly change during COVID-19? The single thread that allowed these changes to happen so rapidly was the ability to quickly deploy and scale apps and services through the cloud. We have seen Cloud adoption rates accelerate as businesses look to enable and succeed with remote and hybrid working solutions. 68% of CIOs surveyed by Deloitte ranked “migrating to the public cloud and/or expanding private cloud” as the top IT spending driver in 2020. This was an increase of 20 points from a similar survey only six months earlier. Automation and AI investment rates have also surged with McKinsey reporting as early as July 2020 that two-thirds of senior executives were stepping up investment in these technologies somewhat or significantly. Apps are also being deployed across a wider range of uses than ever before as organisations in both the public and private sector seek to allow both staff and end users to do more from wherever they are. Our public cloud partner AWS are now adding 15 new features and services per week to keep up with demand for innovative ways to work and do business online.

But why are hybrid cloud solutions crucial for digital transformation? With continued demand for home working and omni-channel retail and services, it is clear that continued adoption of apps, automation and AI through the cloud are increasingly essential to maintaining and creating competitive advantage. However, alongside all the opportunities, these changes have also thrown up challenges and risks including: Security, Accessibility, Scalability, Stability, Platforms and Cost. By opting for a hybrid cloud solution, you allow your company the flexibility to use the right technology for the right task at the right time. Combining the predictability and proximity of private cloud with the flexibility and on-demand scalability of public cloud gives you the best of both worlds. By choosing how and where your data is housed, you can ensure it is protected wherever it resides in a seamless, agile and secure environment. The visibility and control hybrid cloud gives you through centralised management means you’ll enjoy better cost control and utilisation rates while still letting you scale whenever needed to match demand.

At Brightsolid, our managed hybrid cloud services can help your digital transformation succeed. We design, build and manage scalable hybrid cloud environments across the best mix of public cloud, private cloud and colocation to help you meet your goals and requirements as they evolve.

Want to know more? Whether you’re just dipping your toes in the water, or wondering what’s next, get in touch with us for more information on how we can help you on your cloud journey.

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