The adoption of cloud technologies is just as important in the life of a company as their actual deployment. However, in the absence of adequate resources and competencies, it usually receives much less attention. Zsolt Bátorfi, Chief Cloud Adoption Advisor, explains the practical significance of cloud adoption and covers the next generation of cloud services.
What does adoption of cloud technologies mean?
Cloud computing has clearly become a part of our lives. However, the rapid pace of technological change and the wide range of solution offerings require the existence of certain competencies that have not existed so far, and their acquisition is time-consuming. Changes not only need to be followed, but also understood and adapted to, which poses a serious challenge. Knowledge, knowledge transfer, strategic understanding, vision, rethinking internal competencies and a new, “cloud native” approach are needed. On the other hand, we can’t ignore the human aspect, finding a balance between the human and technological sides. It’s important to understand how people adopt cloud technology. We need to reach out to and support several target groups simultaneously in technology adoption, from managers through IT professionals to users.
You worked for a software vendor and then you spent some time on the client side. What led you to Softline?
I have been in the software industry for more than 20 years and always look for opportunities where I can gain new experiences. I started on the software vendor side and then took up a position in the telecommunications sector where I was able to observe the products being applied in practice. Only one point was missing from the imaginary triangle, namely the partner side, and this is what attracted me to Softline. For me, these three roles and the experience gained from them represent a comprehensive professional insight.
At what stage are companies now in their use of cloud services?
Productivity services such as Microsoft Teams or OneDrive have become part of our lives. However, the process leading here has not gone completely smoothly in the lives of many companies, since the pandemic has forced the rapid deployment of these solutions, pushing aspects of careful planning and preparation into the background. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important to review decisions made earlier, including leveraging the potential of existing subscriptions. Today it’s not just basic collaboration and communication features that are required, but also extended solutions, such as low-code, no-code app development, which is great for automation, supporting digital transformation efforts or replacing obsolete on-premises systems. These opportunities are already in our hands; even so, if we’re going to maximise the benefits, we need a comprehensive approach and extensive experience.
What challenges has cloud adoption posed for companies?
In recent times, the main focus has been on speed; rapid decision-making has been followed by even faster deployment, and this has inevitably been accompanied by subordinating other aspects, such as security. It’s also typical that several services are mixed within a company, and an opaque, self-organising chaos develops on the user and employee side, which is counterproductive. These situations must be tidied up; goals must be clarified and the most appropriate means must be assigned to them. The method, regularity, and form of cloud usage can vary from company to company. If we’re unaware of our needs and opportunities, it can easily happen that we over-consume or just under-consume the cloud service. In addition, it can be very difficult to migrate a legacy system into the cloud. Simply lifting and shifting things does not always resolve problems: we might have to rearchitect; in many cases we’ll have to rebuild software. We don’t only move systems to the cloud; it also means we transition to cloud-based solutions. The difference between the two approaches is already apparent in the very short term.
How can Softline help with this?
Thanks to its global presence, Softline has at its disposal the knowledge that can be used in all areas of IT services. As an external partner, we hold competencies that often can’t be acquired within a company. The most appropriate solution requires the concentration of a wide range of knowledge, in which case it becomes necessary to involve a service provider who’s able to recognise similar phenomena and present earlier cases and the lessons learned. Last but not least, a partner is capable of establishing the kind of deep and intense relationship with software vendors that’s difficult to reach on the corporate side. These benefits at the same time can be leveraged with the help of an external service provider.
How do you see the future of the cloud?
Artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and machine learning also have a key role in cloud services. Software will be self-learning and data-driven, and AI will help us create software in addition to making it work. Cloud technologies will be able to reap the full benefits of the data collected and then change behaviour based on them. Traces of this can already be seen. The complexity and rate of development of these technologies further underscore the importance of adoption.
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