After years of the cloud revolution, it is clear that there is tremendous value enabled by cloud adoption — more than $1 trillion for Fortune 500 companies alone. Several companies across the globe are shifting their operations to the cloud. Businesses worldwide are making enormous investments in the cloud which is expected to rise manifold.

Organisations globally are expected to spend $1.78 trillion on cloud and other “best-in-class digital transformation” technologies in 2022, states a Statista report. IDC also predicts that by 2023, one in two companies will generate over 40 per cent of their revenues from digital products and services, compared to one in three in 2020.

However, the question here is whether businesses and governments are investing to truly transform their products and services, ageing processes, and traditional models, or are they simply applying digital structure to business as usual.

Forrester refers to the latter as “digital sameness”, and it’s a dangerous trap because as the lines between industries continue to blur amid the accelerating pace of technology and business change, enterprises need to reinvent themselves quickly. As Gartner states, organisations must embrace change and leverage their innovation capacity, technology, and reach to achieve enterprise goals at the scale and pace required and those who do so will outperform their peers.

Asia Pacific governments will take the lead in delivering world-class digital services in 2022, based on what Forrester refers to as the "three pillars of a digital society”, which are digital identity (for security and privacy), digital currency, and data interoperability.

In the private sector, multi cloud-centric digital “outsiders” already are disrupting almost every industry including financial services, healthcare, media and entertainment, retail, travel, logistics, education, consumer electronics and transportation among others.

As McKinsey called out, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that change is unavoidable. Here, the onus lies on organisations and decision-makers to continuously reimagine business ideas.

Some companies are fastracking growth and boosting the economy. Companies such as Airtel, CGTMSE and SBI Card reaping the benefits of their astute strategy as early adopters.

The shift to cloud computing, including autonomous technologies, is therefore critical. Some organisations turn to the cloud for short-term gains like the ability to move spending from fixed capital to ongoing operations; to receive regular technology updates without a lot of heavy lifting; or to upscale their technology infrastructure and applications, seamlessly. Most businesses choose multiple cloud providers, in part to reduce the risk of downtime and performance bottlenecks.

But the significant results and outcomes arrive to those organisations that see cloud more as a liberator, freeing their technical people from spending most of their valuable time on system security, tuning, maintenance, provisioning and upgrades. The advantage here is to allow the workforce to invest more time on developing unique yet profitable digital products and services.

The key here is about embracing the accelerating pace of change in terms of building a ‘digital mindset’, one that starts with using cloud-based development platforms and tools to spin up new application development environments in minutes, rapidly deploy new features in iterative steps, and just as quickly move on to other projects. The speed aspect allows organisations to improve their operational efficiency, engage in more activities and take up larger operations.

For the last decade or so, boards have given their management teams considerable liberty to explore the benefits of cloud applications and infrastructure. As we emerge from the pandemic, 2022 will be the year of reckoning, with leadership teams asking their executive teams: what is the evidence that those cloud investments are positioning us for long-term competitive advantage?

The writer is Regional MD, Oracle India