5 Cloud Predictions to Watch This Year

Cloud PredictionsThe cloud has been one of the fastest growing sections of the technology market for years, and the International Data Corporation has made some predictions about developments in the cloud for 2013. Shifting business models, changing forms of cloud services, increasing acquisitions — all are expected to occur in the next 12 months. It’s going to be an exciting time for the tech industry and for cloud computing.

Shifting Models and New Competition
IDC predicts that more and more tech companies that started out offering packaged software applications will migrate to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription models. Think Oracle, IBM and Microsoft. This sea change is expected to cause the cloud to outpace packaged software applications in terms of marketshare. “As packaged application providers become SaaS providers themselves, they will increasingly battle with SaaS pure plays like Salesforce.com and Workday for leadership in some of the major application software markets,” according to IDC.

More importantly, companies that don’t change to a new model will be left behind: “The IT industry as a whole is moving toward the mobile/social/cloud/big data world of the 3rd Platform much more quickly than many realize: from 2013 through 2020, these technologies will drive around 90 percent of all the growth in the IT market,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. “Companies that are not putting 80 percent or more of their competitive energy into this new market will be trapped in the legacy portion of the market, growing even slower than global GDP.”

Industry Specific Cloud Services
IDC expects the number of industry specific Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings to explode over the next year or so. Tailored PaaS offerings mean that in industries with very specific needs, such as the finance industry or healthcare, companies can still outsource to the cloud. They will be able to have specific IT needs met and not have to pay top dollar for a custom solution. “Examples of emerging industry PaaS include: NYSE Capital Markets Community Platform in financial services; numerous health information exchanges in healthcare; and Johnson Controls’ Panoptix App Marketplace in smart energy,” said IDC in its news release. IDC also predicts that increased participation of line of business execs in IT investment decisions will drive the demand for industry specific solutions.

More Private Hosted Clouds
For compliance reasons, many critical applications will find that only a secure, non-shared private cloud will work to meet requirements, and so the demand for private clouds will rise, IDC predicts.

More Acquisitions
IDC is predicting more than $25 billion in acquisitions of companies with cloud service offerings in the next 20 months, a nearly 50 percent increase from the $17 billion in acquisitions during the previous 20 months.

Shortage of Cloud IT Talent
IDC predicts that the explosion of new cloud services will lead to a critical shortage of the IT staff trained to work with those specific cloud technologies.

All of these predictions indicate opportunities opening up on the horizon. If you are a business still offering packaged software applications to customers, you might want to look into moving to a cloud subscription model. Alternatively, seek out the opportunities left behind by those moving out of the packaged software space. Packaged software isn’t going away just yet and you may be able to capitalize on that.

If you’re a developer or sys admin, you might want to add some new cloud technology qualifications or certifications this year and be in demand when the talent shortage hits. If you’re a cloud provider that offers one-size-fits-all services, you might look at your customer base and consider offering something more tailored to their specific industry needs. If you are a cloud provider with an innovative offering, you might look around and see if there are any interesting acquisition opportunities you might take advantage of. There are many ways you can capitalize on these trends.

Do you agree with these predictions about cloud developments in the tech industry? Why or why not? What cloud predictions do you have? Let us know what you think in the comments.


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