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The coming 12 months are likely to see a significant uptake in the number of enterprises using cloud-based business software packages, a new study has claimed.

Forrester Research’s latest Forrsights survey found nearly half of companies across Europe and North America will set aside a portion of their IT budget for the deployment of private cloud solutions in 2013.

Analyst at the firm James Staten stated in a blog post that what this means for the industry is that businesses will “get real” about the cloud. He said bosses will stop speculating and focus on the task of incorporating cloud IT solutions and platforms into their formal IT strategy.

“Cloud use is no longer solely hiding in the shadows, IT departments are no longer denying it’s happening in their company and legitimate budgeting around cloud is now taking place,” he stated.

This echoes a recent study by Capgemini, which found many firms that have already adopted these tools are getting close to maturity with their solutions, while recognition of the benefits of the technology is extending beyond the IT department. In fact, 45 per cent of bosses surveyed said the main driver for the transition is coming from elsewhere in the business.

Forrester offered several predictions for the future of cloud computing within enterprises over the next year. It stated there will be a much better understanding of the capabilities of the cloud and how the tools differ from traditional virtualisation and remote hosting offerings.

As a result, businesses will be able to clearly target where they can see improvements and make sound decisions about which application will be moved to the cloud and which should be kept in-house.

The firm also stated mobility and the cloud will be converged into a single solution as more workers demand the ability to perform tasks on the move, from whatever device they choose. “More often than not, we are finding mobile applications connected to cloud-based back-end services that can elastically respond to mobile client engagements,” Forrester said, with analyst Glenn O’Donnell noting that the combination of cloud and mobile results in a solutions that is “more than the sum of its parts”.

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