The cloud has dominated IT plans and budgets for years. As a result, 92% of organizations report that they have at least one application or portion of their computing environment in the cloud today, up from 73% in 2018. These organizations are migrating to the cloud with the major vendor platforms, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, at faster and faster rates.

Today, the overall shift to cloud computing has been accelerated further by COVID-19 and the widespread adoption of remote work. Some service providers may look to make the most of this moment, focusing the push toward cloud computing around fear and uncertainty. Indeed, cloud providers can help you protect your data, apps, and infrastructure from potential threats. But security is just one of the many benefits of a cloud migration. Below, I’ll break down how moving more of your IT environment to the cloud enables business-wide priorities around innovation, speed, and agility.

Enabling Innovation

Do you have metrics on how much time your teams are spending to keep the lights on? If not, could you guess? Pre-cloud, some teams were spending a staggering 28% of their time focusing on things like operational overhead, deployments, maintenance, and a mix of other administrative tasks and IT management chores. To put that into context for teams that run two-week sprints, that’s almost three days per sprint that are not going towards adding new business value.

The cloud eliminates the pain of purchasing and installing hardware, planning for hardware capacity, installing operating systems, and of course ongoing hardware maintenance. And that’s just for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) adopters. For those looking to use a platform as a service (PaaS), then you can also save yourself some time with operating system updates, system hardening, and even scaling to some extent.

Enabling Speed

In a past life, I was part of projects where developers started coding, got some features ready for testing, but had nowhere to deploy. Or, if there was a destination for their code, it was usually significantly underpowered and painful for others to use. In most cases, this happened because new hardware needed to be purchased to support the new applications, or the hardware available was well over capacity. This whole situation could have a significant impact on a project’s schedule, and in some cases even resulted in halting a project.

Cloud computing services have ushered in a new era in terms of software development speed. Organizations that have cloud subscriptions are able to spin up new environments on demand and in minutes, without all the pressure on capacity planning. Dev teams can focus on creating an application or microservice, rather than worrying about infrastructure or storage. If the new project doesn’t work out, the environment can always be taken down. The cloud provides a low-cost, low-risk, and low-latency option to start up and deploy projects more quickly.

Enabling Agility

Do you remember the last time you walked into a store to rent a movie? Or ordered a CD? We can now stream just about any movie or song, on any device, at any time of day thanks to the likes of Netflix and Spotify. How did these companies disrupt the television and music industries? They did it by migrating to the cloud early on, so they could preserve business agility and maintain a customer-first approach to engineering.

As an organization, would you be able to react quickly enough if a startup began disrupting the industry you serve? Would you have the agility to survive? The cloud provides an environment where organizations can quickly pivot as needed, and respond directly to requests from customers or users. Most cloud vendors also provide competitive advantages in the form of artificial intelligence and machine learning at commodity prices. Plus, if your application is successful enough, then cloud infrastructure can provide massive scale and global reach that’s not possible with a private data center.

Migrating to the Cloud: Let’s Sum It Up

In the end, cloud migration is about broader organizational enablement. By reducing the need for capacity planning, providing an environment for fast deployment and testing, and fostering business agility, the cloud enables development teams to focus on user and customer needs first.

Public and hybrid clouds have gone mainstream because they help organizations optimize for much more than security and compliance. The broad-reaching benefits of migration make it more of a tactical, business decision than a purely technical one, and making sure you find the right partner for that migration is more important than ever.