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An unplanned, widespread move to home-working would have brought businesses to a grinding halt had large investments in cloud computing not been made over the last ten years, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.The company’s latest report, COVID-19 Impact on Cloud Services, reveals that the investment could now pay an unexpected dividend by transforming the way some businesses operate. Since mid-March 2020, cloud-based services for remote workers have kept much of the world working, forcing organizations that were previously opposed to remote working to embrace the idea.

GlobalData forecasts that the cloud services market will be worth $661bn by 2024, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% between 2019 and 2024.

David Bicknell, Principal Analyst in the Thematic Research Team at GlobalData, commented: “The shift to remote working caused by the pandemic has left offices empty and pushed companies to rely on technology to keep their operations running. Cloud services suppliers have had to step up and bear the brunt of a transformed business landscape.

“The home-working genie is now out of the bottle. The rush-to-remote is now driving change in the way businesses operate. Companies that would scarcely have countenanced the idea of their employees working from home have been forced to rethink their opposition and sanction the use of cloud-based tools like Slack and Zoom for collaboration.”

GlobalData’s Cloud Services scorecard reveals that companies likely to enhance their position in cloud services over the next year include hyperscale infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba and IBM; cloud-based collaboration and application providers; telecom operators providing cloud services; cloud connectivity partners; and colocation data centers.

Bicknell continued: “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted several examples of processes that can be digitized and virtualized. Google has told job seekers it will conduct all interviews virtually via Google Hangouts for the foreseeable future. Corporate video conferencing is enabling both legal and medical case discussions, while telemedicine is being used to provide COVID-19 remote diagnosis and treatment.

“The necessary wider move to cloud will now pose questions for organizations over their future consumption of IT resources. Some may already have concluded that, if they can run virtually now, why can’t they do it permanently?”