1. Cloud technologies will converge.
The cloud will continue to forge a massive convergence of technologies—similar to the evolution of the cell phone to the smart phone. “The lines between platform as a service (PaaS) and cloud services brokerages will blur into a conceptual operating system for the ‘Web as a platform’—providing tools to allow users to take advantage of multiple cloud solutions at once, and bringing the cloud closer to the end user in more meaningful ways,” according to Landis.
2. Custom software will hit the cloud.
For years, everyone has been talking about the “low-hanging fruit” of commodity email and infrastructure. According to Kevin L. Jackson, NJVC vice president and general manager, cloud services, and Landis, non-commodity custom software is beginning to move to the cloud in a meaningful manner. “As of this year, PaaS and other cloud technologies have reached a maturity level that allows developers and integrators to build highly customized, complex offerings on the cloud,” Landis said.
3. Integration will become the new “killer app.”
The term “killer app” generally refers to the technology that’s so necessary it drives adoption of a computing paradigm. “Complexity is the problem of the cloud era,” Jackson said. “The cloud is evolving into a hodgepodge of disparate cloud services from vendors that are scattered all over the world.” According to Jackson and Landis, IT professionals will turn to cloud services brokers to manage the growing complexity problem by integrating heterogeneous infrastructure services; whereas software developers will turn to PaaS for integrating disparate Web services to deliver seamless user experiences to their customers.
4. India and outsourcing countries will drive industry adoption of PaaS worldwide.
“The software development outsourcing industry thrives on the value proposition of more for less, as it is what it does well,” said Landis. In 2013, PaaS will be adopted by companies in India and in other major outsourcing countries in a rapid and notable fashion. It will cause a ripple effect throughout industry because these outsourcing companies are so integral to modern business operations. The cloud makes geographic boundaries irrelevant.
5. Major data centers will go undergo a “survival-of-the-fittest” scenario.
Winners will emerge in the data center shakeout, as many large data centers will close and sell assets, or become acquired and consolidate. “Ironically, the cloud movement spawned a ‘gold rush’ to build new data centers at a time when the stated goal of the cloud was to reduce the number of data centers,” said Landis. “The market is maturing, and the ultimate result will be a ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ scenario as many legacy data centers will shut their doors and as many data center customers decide to move some of their data to the cloud.” Cloud services brokerages will play a larger role for data center service providers to help their customers sort out the confusion and effectively manage an increasing number of cloud service providers, according to Jackson.
6. Health IT will adopt PaaS to replace niche “dinosaur” apps.
Health IT will adopt PaaS to replace niche “dinosaur apps.” “The problem with health IT is that the enterprise systems have grown too large to merely replace, but there are limits to what they can do,” said Landis. “For the healthcare industry to move forward and achieve the goals set out in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, the cloud must play a major role in the next generation of healthcare IT. Healthcare CIOs are looking at how much it will cost to upgrade their HITECH-compliant systems—and they are finding that proprietary models will leave them with unfavorable lock-in, while others in the healthcare industry embracing the cloud march forward.”
7. Organizations will rapidly adopt cloud services brokerages.
The need to use multiple cloud services providers to manage multiple functions will create a fast adoption of the cloud services brokerage model: either via a new internal role or external source, like the NJVC Cloudcuity Management Portal. “The new role of cloud services brokerages will be further defined and evolve over the next five years to provide niche services to organizations moving to the cloud, but also realizing that their specific IT needs will require the use of more than one cloud services provider,” said Jackson.
8. The U.S. government will re-think major IT contracts.
Large system integrators, whose success long depended on very expensive, highly complex and customized, on-premise solutions, will redefine their practices and their overall operating and profit models, especially as more businesses go beyond basic, “out-of-the-box” cloud services and turn to the cloud for more customized implementations. U.S. government agencies will begin to add new requirements to several major IT contracts. According to Jackson: “The federal government is in many ways leading the path toward the cloud. In 2013 there will be a shakeup in government contracting. Incumbent system integrators will no longer be able to rest on past successes, as the government continues to transform itself and move toward the cloud, and as new cloud service providers offer innovative and cost-effective solutions geared specifically to the federal marketplace.”
9. Innovation and entrepreneurship will hit overdrive.
Entrepreneurship will go into overdrive, especially as full-featured, “idea-to-revenue” platforms, like NJVC Cloudcuity AppDeployer, take developers from concept, to development and to deployment and sales. This will trigger a new wave of innovation, entrepreneurship and disruptive startups that will make things interesting for system integrators. “We’ve already seen an incredible wave of high-tech innovation, and the emergence of flourishing incubators and accelerators,” said Jackson. “Cloud platforms, for the first time, provide these innovators with all the tools they need to succeed, without requiring a multi-million dollar investment.”
10. Cloud adoption will move from an option to a “must have.”
Cloud adoption will move away from something buyers purchase with surplus budget money to a “must have” that replaces the traditional IT enterprise business model. “Until recently, managers have viewed cloud computing as a proof-of-concept project or something that can be done or piloted with extra budget money,” said Landis. “The reality is the cloud’s value can only be fully realized when traditional and more costly ways of storing, using and securing data are replaced with new business models that take advantage of ‘fast-and-lean’ cloud services. In the coming year, companies will accomplish this by halting old projects, re-thinking old contracts, and shifting funds to affordable and innovative cloud services that can transform the IT enterprise.”