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How enterprise cloud will evolve by 2025

The hastened march to cloud makes sense during an ongoing pandemic where virtually everything has gone virtual. But what shape will that cloud take over the next three years? Here are some of Gartner’s top predictions for enterprise cloud by 2025.

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By 2025, the enterprise will spend more on cloud than all non-cloud IT combined, CEOs will usurp CIOs as top cloud drivers and cloud centres of excellence (CCoE) will become extinct.

That’s according to Gartner’s latest predictions for the future of cloud, presented in a recent webcast by Gartner’s distinguished VP analyst Milind Govekar.

The hastened march to cloud makes sense during an ongoing pandemic where virtually everything has gone … well, virtual. But what shape will that cloud take over the next three years? And how will a CEO-driven strategy redefine it? Here are some of Govekar’s top predictions for enterprise cloud by 2025.

Spending explosion

Gartner believes more than 85 per cent of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025, up from about 50 per cent today. This will fuel further cloud spending. According to Gartner:

  • over the next 12 months, organizations are 17 times more likely to increase their cloud spending than reduce it
  • by 2025, cloud spending will surpass non-cloud spending “in relevant enterprise IT markets”

C-suite shift

I’m old enough to remember all the talk about aligning IT with business. Now cloud strategy is getting the same treatment.

“We believe the future of cloud will be a CEO-driven journey in partnership with the CIO and tech leadership to deliver truly pioneering business capabilities,” Govekar said.

He sees cloud going from a tech disruptor to a business disruptor; from a tool of enablement to one of innovation. Hence, his prediction that CEOs will take hold of the cloud strategy reins.

The journey to cloud as a business disruptor will have to cover a lot of ground, however. In a recent Gartner survey, enterprises said the top outcomes of their cloud adoption so far have been:

  • IT modernization (17%)
  • improved efficiency (12%)

… while they listed the following business-oriented results at the very bottom among cloud outcomes:

  • enabled digital business strategy (7%)
  • increased agility and innovation (6%)

End of CCoEs

enterprise cloud

Govekar said the shift from a tech-based cloud strategy to a business-focused one will prod enterprises to retool their cloud centres of excellence into fusion teams.

“Organizations will adopt fusion teams, a new collaborative structure that unifies business and technology talent,” Govekar predicted.

He further defined the fusion model as “digital business teams organized by business or customer outcomes” rather than technology streams.

In Gartner’s online glossary, a fusion team is described as “a multidisciplinary team that blends technology or analytics and business domain expertise … often designed to deliver products rather than projects.”

Gartner data suggest at least 84 per cent of companies and 59 per cent of government entities have already established fusion teams.

Citizen app development

“The rise of low code application platforms (LCAPs) is driving the rise of citizen (app) development,” Govekar said.

He said low code and no code technology will be used to develop 70 per cent of all new apps by 2025, turning non-IT enterprise workers into DIY app developers.

“Applications of the future will be assembled and composed by the people that actually use them,” Govekar predicted. “This will reduce the development backlog and enable organizations to reduce development costs.”

Cloud native as the norm

“By 2025 cloud native technologies will be pervasive, not just popular,” Govekar said. “Any non-cloud applications or infrastructure will be considered legacy.”

Within the next three years, he added, this will lead to “widespread adoption of cloud native platforms,” which he said will be highly automated and provide integration of a diverse set of services.

“Your operating model will change,” Govekar warned, “as cloud native adoption will explode to a point where, by 2025, 95 per cent of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud native platforms, more than triple what it is today.”

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Rise of distributed cloud

Today, less than two per cent of enterprises use a distributed cloud option to process data at the location of their choice. Gartner expects that figure to grow quickly, topping 50 per cent within three years.

“You’re already seeing private 5G networks and you’re already seeing edge computing emerge, and (those are) a form of distributed cloud,” Govekar noted.

Inverted cloud security

As cloud becomes more distributed, security can sometimes become more complicated. That’s why Gartner envisions cloud security becoming what it calls “inverted.”

“Instead of shipping all traffic to central security appliances, organizations must process it closer to the user in a more efficient manner. They must bring security to the sessions instead of bringing sessions to the security,” Govekar explained.

He said it no longer makes sense to run security at the data centre because by 2025 “most traffic from branches and edge computing locations won’t go to an enterprise data centre.”

In light of that, Govekar predicted more than 50 per cent of enterprises “will have explicit strategies to adopt a cloud-based set of capabilities called SASE (secure access service edge),” up from the current SASE adoption rate of less than five per cent.

So that’s the future of cloud – at least within the next three years – as Gartner sees it unfolding. If there’s one inviolable certainty, it’s that we’ll all keep making predictions about enterprise IT, even in a global pandemic that almost no one could have predicted.

Images: KanawatTH/iStock; Melpomenem/iStock

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