Experts have said it for long time, but users were skeptical. Perhaps users were not even listening. Cloud is secure. Experts even said that most organizations do not have the skills or budgets to create the kind of security that giant cloud providers do. It is 2013, and everyone has figured out that security isn’t the real problem with Cloud—their approach to Cloud is. Now that enterprise IT has been reassured about security, the rush to “Cloudify” is going to put immense pressure on Cloud providers.
The ‘rush’ of customers—of every size, budget and need—is going to drive Cloud innovation. Until now, Cloud in itself was the technology innovation, but no more. In 2013 look for innovation in Cloud services.
Top 5 Predictions for Innovation in Cloud for 2013
Here are my top 5 predictions for Innovation in Cloud for 2013, starting with the most obvious:
- Cloud adoption will grow to mega scale with governments embracing cloud. The days of early adopters are over. The giants will arrive and bring down Cloud costs and drive further innovation in business models. Why is innovation required in pricing and business models? We have already witnessed huge price drops from the big companies to beat competition, and prices cannot keep plunging any further. Cloud providers need to innovate in two areas: improve operational efficiencies and introduce better pricing models.
- The massive amounts of data being churned in Cloud will present fresh opportunities around data and analytics. Cloud providers will seek innovative ways to harvest the power residing in data that is within their grasp. Of course, privacy issues around data will need to be managed. And that in itself will need smart, creative and innovative thinking from Cloud providers. However, there are more immediate—and simpler—opportunities for them around data. One is to ensure that Cloud users can leverage their own transactional data that the Cloud platform generates. The other is to provide analytical services that run as a layer above the customer’s data. The deep integration possible between the Cloud service and the in-built analytics is bound to be an attractive proposition.
- There will be even more confusion over private, public, community and hybrid cloud. Expect more debate and discourse on the pros and cons of each Cloud flavor. While the least attention has been paid to community cloud, recent evidence suggests that community cloud could come in for significant attention. As an example, the American Institute of CPAs recently found that a good 40 percent of CPAs see themselves as being the catalyst for innovation around technology adoption by their clients. Only a tiny 17 percent o of CPAs say they have little or no role in helping clients adopt Cloud (and other emerging technologies). Such community Clouds aimed at financial trading, telecom, healthcare, accounting, legal, education, etc. will force innovation through their specific needs. It is simple wisdom: one size of Cloud cannot fit all.
- The need for services like virtual desktops (DaaS) will mean that Cloud providers can innovate and become central to orchestrating such services. Recent Visiongain research indicates that the virtual desktop market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.77 percent through 2015 . The business implications of this and other similar opportunity will force innovation in Cloud service.
- Finally—and this is inevitable—Cloud providers will need to make it simpler for organizations to adopt Cloud. This means addressing the complexity of Cloud management as well as assisting customers with changing their internal processes to leverage Cloud. Does this call for innovation? Anything that requires disrupting the customer’s set organizational behavior requires deft innovation.
While Prediction #5 may look the least consequential, implementation challenges will produce the highest level of innovation. The time for Cloud adoption is right—and this is largely due to the maturity of the technology. But are customers fully prepared to unlock the transformative power of Cloud? Or will they tend to protect legacy investments or avoid the pain of transition?
The answers to these questions will also determine what Cloud looks like in 2013 and beyond.