So, where will the cloud go in 2015?
I think most people will point to the cloud’s continued adoption and the fact that cloud services will further eat into more and more of the traditional IT budget and operations – as what was traditionally delivered from the corporate data center is instead procured from third-party cloud service providers.
But instead of looking at the many statistics around cloud growth, I offer up a few thoughts about how cloud thinking, rather than adoption levels, will evolve in 2015.
The Paradox of Greater Cloud Spend but Lower Cloud Visibility
A few years ago cloud was a sales and marketing differentiator but it no longer is. Now it’s an expectation of the buying organization – the ability to choose between cloud/SaaS or on-premise options. It’s a different delivery and pricing model but I believe that the term “cloud” will continue to lose prominence in both IT vendor marketing and buyer parlance in 2015.
It’s similar to how email service providers, such as Gmail, were once defined as webmail. Cloud will become “just IT” or a “third-party service” rather than something that needs its own differentiating term. Most importantly, corporate IT buyers will reach a point of procuring the most appropriate IT or IT services not “cloud.”
The Lines Between Public and Private Cloud Talk Will Blur
Hybrid cloud – the use of two or more clouds (private, community, or public) that remain distinct entities – was one of the IT marketing buzz-phrases of 2014.
In many ways, hybrid cloud was always going to be the practical cloud solution for large enterprises. After all, few companies other than start-ups would ever have been able to migrate all of their legacy IT applications to cloud service providers; or would be able to on the back of corporate security concerns, or geographic legislation and industry regulations.
But hybrid cloud is not so much the future of cloud but more today’s reality and, as per my first point, I believe we will be talking less about public, private, or hybrid cloud and more about who supplies which IT services to whom.
Security, Whether Cloud Related or Not, Will Rise up Both the Corporate IT and Business Agendas
For many IT and ITSM professionals, security hasn’t always been a sexy IT topic. However, for cloud service providers such as ourselves, and now increasingly for company board members, it’s of paramount importance in light of the increasing frequency of media reports of high profile data breaches and the impact on stock price.
For public cloud, security concerns depend on the investments the cloud service providers make in hosting, and application, security. It’s probably a glib statement to make, but for enterprise-grade cloud service providers, security should be better than that of its customers’ data centers. They can’t afford for it not to be. Firstly, to initially get customer business. Secondly, because a security breach will lose them business if not kill their business entirely.
For corporate IT departments, business pressure to avoid data breaches and denial-of-service attacks will mandate greater investment in security and greater governance applied to third party services. In 2015, businesses and their IT departments can’t afford not to.
Shadow IT, Often Cloud by Another Name, Will Require Compromise
Shadow IT –departments procuring their own IT or IT services – is nothing new. Lines of business have been spending surplus business budgets, often at year end, on third-party-created IT systems (and then expecting the corporate IT department to magically host and support them) for well over a decade. In 2015, particularly with the availability of enterprise and personal cloud services (and cloud service providers that sell to lines of business around the corporate IT organization), IT departments will continue to struggle to prevent Shadow IT and should instead embrace it.
Shadow IT, like BYOD, is not a scenario where one side – either the IT department or employees – will eventually win. As with many things in life, Shadow IT scenarios are about working together and compromising for the benefit of the business. So instead of compliance-based standoffs, existing Shadow IT scenarios should be treated as a launch pad for better conversations with business colleagues.
These conversations will hopefully allow IT to be party to, and to influence, future cloud service procurement decisions (with the necessary governance) and the delivery of IT services that truly meet business expectations around features, usability, cost, and speed of change.
So for cloud to be a great opportunity for both IT departments and the parent businesses in 2015, it might need a different mindset.
Disclaimer: This article was written by a guest contributor in his/her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CloudWedge.com.