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Cloud predictions for 2023: what trends can we expect to see in the year ahead for the world of cloud?

Capgemini
2 Feb 2023

2022 marked a year when many businesses began to understand the need to adapt their architecture and become more cloud native.

Covid-19 taught many organisations the hard way the importance of cloud native and its adaptive nature to tackle complex challenges quickly. During this period, many rushed to cloud to gain the advantages. Now we can see businesses evolve from that rush and execute strategic change from the lessons learned during the pandemic, for example, optimising their use of cloud technology and, most importantly, preparing to respond to recessional challenges.

At the tail-end of 2022, however, the annual growth rate of the big cloud service providers – namely Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – fell below 30% for the first time. This could be a natural resetting following the Pandemic boom, or it could be something wider. One thing is for sure, there are uncertain times ahead.

Here are our top five cloud predictions for the year ahead…

Buying cloud: a shift in gear

As we march through 2023, an increasing number of business leaders will have a decision-making role in buying cloud technology. Instead of brokering it through their IT department, these leaders will become more opinionated in how their technology is employed and, naturally, be more engaged in its deployment. As a result, we’ll see a continued shift in the role of the CIO in these businesses, but their business advisory and enablement will become more critical than ever.

This increase in business intimacy will fuel greater innovation, making 2023 the year that we see more adoption of cloud native tools and techniques, which will help to drive new business models.

This doubling down on cloud technologies and the associated product based operating models could enable cost-out and more efficient operations elsewhere in the business. Many businesses will therefore be looking at “spend to save” models – that is, delivering technology differently to receive a much better result at the end of it.

Cloud matures and takes on increasing regulation

In the year ahead, cloud will continue to mature and rise to meet the challenges of industry regulations, with more control, capability, and assurance around how we use it. This is particularly critical as the world considers deglobalisation, or regionalisation, post-Covid and for more sustainable supply chains.

One aspect of that is a continuing focus on cloud sovereignty, especially in Europe. Secure and regulated nation states and organisations, such as the EU and NATO, have developed thoughts on how they can deploy their architectures differently and this will continue to be a hot topic of debate. It’s not at a place of maturity yet but we’ll start to see organisations work out their strategy over the coming months.

Sustainability: same outcome, less power

In the coming year, we will see organisations pushing for a more efficient use of cloud. As you can expect, sustainability will continue to be a key topic for all industries in 2023, not just cloud. However, we’ll see organisations making specific use of cloud technology to increase their position in the race towards more environmentally friendly business practices.

One way we’ll see this materialise is through the optimisation of the amount of processing power required to achieve a business outcome, especially within AI. As we use deeper levels of data processing and analytics to make us more intelligent, allowing us to make smarter decisions, consumption and efficiency will be a big focal point. Organisations will look to use less carbon power to create the same outcomes and become more sustainable.

Telemetary will also be available to understand this, measure and manage, using less carbon power to create the outcome.

We’ll see many cloud service providers responding to this topic in different ways as the global sustainability conversation continues.

Lift and shift lives on (as a “speed-to-cloud” mechanism)

Businesses moving applications and associated data to a cloud platform without significant modernisation – a migration style also known as “lift and shift” – still has a place in this post-pandemic, economically challenged world. In 2023, we’ll continue to see lift and shift as a “speed-to-cloud” mechanism.

Organisations often intentionally choose cost effective migrations to enable their business cases, then deal with any related issues that could arise later down the line. This is balanced with more strategic modernisation investment in a prioritised part of their portfolios.

However, we expect providers to differentiate themselves on how they’re supporting lift and shift. Firstly, it’s already commoditising as a set of services in the market, but we can expect to see automation increase in a way that will be differentiating, driving highly competitive price points.

Data analytics and AI: more valuable than ever

The nature of the use of data analytics is set to mature thanks to the economic headwinds predicted for 2023, and we’ll see a more specific use of data analytics as a result to provide business optimisation.

Where it was once about a company using analytics to innovate and try and find a problem to solve, it’ll move more towards ownership. For example, if a business’ supply chain costs 200% more than it used to be, we’re likely to see it deploying analytics to get under that challenge as a real business problem. We’re therefore likely to see an end to the experimental, early phase of data analytics.

But one thing is certain: AI will only become stronger, smarter and more efficient. In fact, as data analytics continue to evolve, it might not be long before AI is able to write these very cloud trends for us. Take OpenAI’s Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (ChatGPT) chatbot, which arrived on the scene in late 2022, and is sure to really take off in the year ahead.

As a fitting way to conclude our cloud predictions for the next 12 months, we asked ChatGPT “what will AI achieve in 2023?”. Here’s what it told us:

“It is difficult to predict exactly what AI will achieve in 2023, as the field of AI is constantly evolving and advancing at a rapid pace. However, it is likely that AI will continue to improve in its ability to perform a wide range of tasks, including image and speech recognition, natural language processing, and decision-making.

“There may also be significant developments in the use of AI for healthcare, transportation, and other industries. It is possible that we will see the emergence of new AI applications and technologies that we cannot even imagine today.

“Overall, it is likely that AI will continue to make significant strides and have a significant impact on society in the coming years.”

To learn more about the world of Cloud, subscribe to our Cloud Realities podcast: https://alternate.ucwe.capgemini.com/gb-en/insights/research-library/cloud-realities-podcast/

Please click the link below to read more from our 2023 prediction series

Rob Kernahan

Capgemini CTO group – UK Chief Architect for Cloud and a Global SME on Cloud Technology, Data and IT Operating Models
Rob is a member of the Capgemini CTO group as UK Chief Architect for Cloud and a Global SME on Cloud Technology, Data and IT Operating Models. Rob has over 20 years’ experience in Architecture and Delivery across a variety of sectors. Over the years he has led large transformational initiatives and has combined technology and people to create powerful outcomes.

Dave Chapman

Chief Cloud Evangelist
Dave has nearly 30 years of global experience in strategic development, transformation, programme delivery and operations. In his role as Chief Cloud Evangelist at Capgemini, he helps clients anticipate and tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by the largest and most complex cloud transformations. He has advised and coached IT Leaders in all sectors and worked with them in solving leadership, strategic transformation, and execution/value realisation challenges. Additionally, Dave was part of the Senior Leadership Team at Cloudreach, he established and led the Digital Foundations program at bp and he has worked as a CxO in Public Sector and enterprise FMCG. Dave was also the co-creator & co-host of well-known industry podcast, ‘Cloudbusting’. He is told he spends far too much on hi-fi and vinyl.