With the expected value of the cloud market to increase as much as 130 percent to $43 billion in 2016 (according to IDC), there is little doubt that the cloud craze is here to stay. An ever-evolving workforce and the need to access critical data at any time, from any device, have thrust the cloud into mainstream discussion.
Previously feared and misunderstood, the once ugly stepchild has now transformed into the belle of the ball. The cloud will continue to evolve and demonstrate its true flexibility, suggesting more changes for 2013.
So what should IT experts and enterprises expect in 2013 following the meteoric rise of the cloud? Here are four areas worth looking at:
1. Greater Mobile Cloud Computing
The workforce is becoming increasingly more mobile, and the cloud will only perpetuate this change. According to Juniper Research, the number of mobile cloud-computing subscribers is expected to grow rapidly during the next five years. The cloud-based mobile market will generate annual revenue of $9.5 billion in 2014 (up from $400 million in 2009), at an average annual increase of 88 percent. Employees today demand access of functionality and analytics at any time and with whatever mobile device rests currently in their hands. The convergence of increased mobility and the cloud allows employees to connect with their business to keep projects moving forward, whether jetting between meetings or across the globe.
2. BYOC and Increased Security
In 2013, discussions will no longer focus around bring your own device (BYOD), but rather bring your own cloud (BYOC). The public and private cloud line is blurring as employees require solutions that enable a sustainable balance between their business and personal lives. From running analytics to showing off pictures of grandchildren, employees want one device to handle it all. BYOC requires solutions to be both fast and reliable. But perhaps most important, solutions must be secure. As more companies migrate toward the cloud and data becomes readily accessible, ensuring the protection of enterprise data will remain a top priority in 2013.
3. A ‘Glocal’ Cloud
In 2013 companies will increasingly need to think and act globally while servicing partners, customers and employees locally. The combination of global and local creates the “Glocal” cloud. If IDC’s prediction for U.S. cloud spending by 2016 is not surprising, then Gartner’s forecast that global cloud spending will exceed $200 billion by 2016 should induce more shock and awe. As global companies adopt the cloud with greater frequency, paradoxically the demand for localized treatment increases. A more diverse and expansive workforce requires the cloud to service all parts of the whole equally well.
4. Rise of the Cloud-Based Networked Enterprise
The cloud exists for enterprises of all sizes, which creates opportunities to improve business execution at every level. Enterprises will continue to network outside themselves in 2013. Consequently, the public will see a rise in the significance of connected business networks as more companies find themselves a part of this shift to the cloud. These networks create an arena for suppliers, partners and customers of all sizes to convene in one cloud and grow their business with new opportunities.
Enterprises across the globe should expect cloudy days for the foreseeable future. But as those clouds grow larger, business in 2013 should see sunny results.
Image credit: istockphoto.com