The COVID-19 pandemic has truly changed the work environment for both Federal agencies and private sector companies and, as a result, organizations have shifted their priorities.

According to 2020 Enterprise Cloud Trends, released Aug. 20, there has been a significant reorganization of cloud computing priorities throughout the pandemic. Ninety percent of the more than 100 cloud-focused IT directors surveyed reported using at least two cloud computing platforms.

The vast majority – 82 percent – of the more than 100 cloud-focused IT directors surveyed reported experiencing cloud-related challenges, with 77 percent saying those challenges have caused them to alter their strategies.

Given the dramatic shift from an in-office workforce to a remote workforce since March, it’s no surprise that the top struggles are focused around providing remote workers what they need to do to their jobs effectively. When asked for their top challenge, 63 percent said it has been providing remote workers access to the organization’s systems; 57 percent said remote worker complexity and support; and 47 percent said that conferencing and collaboration systems haven’t worked as anticipated.

On top of needing to meet the needs of a remote workforce, the IT directors surveyed cited security and developing a cloud-native culture as top priorities. Nearly half – 46 percent – cited COVID-19 as the source of their cloud security-related challenges. Unsurprisingly, prioritizing cloud security was top of the list for respondents. Other top priorities include shifting to a cloud-native culture, including DevOps, and conferencing and collaboration tools as a means to support the remote workforce.

Ramping up cloud adoption comes at a cost; however, many companies are now dealing with budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic. Luckily, the majority of respondents – 64 percent – said their IT budgets have remained stable or increased since COVID-19 began. A slight majority – 59 percent – said their budgets would increase over the next 12 months, with 23 percent of those respondents saying their cloud budgets would increase “significantly” over that time period.

Outside of their response to COVID-19, the majority of respondents – 60 percent – said they have zeroed in on projects that have potential large payoffs – meaning company-wide digital transformation versus cost-conscious projects. For 47 percent of IT directors, the focus comes from a belief that they need to start positioning their company for the long haul. For 39 percent of IT directors, the focus instead was on accelerating their cloud adoption to deliver digital products. Another 34 percent said they were focused on hastening their migration of applications to the cloud.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.