What’s on the horizon for cloud computing in 2015?

Clare Hopping

Thursday 8 January 2015

A lot happened on the cloud computing front in 2014, with more companies embracing change. But what’s the state of play in 2015? We asked some industry insiders to find out.

Over the course of 2014, we saw cloud computing head to new heights, with adoption up to 87 per cent in the SMB space, according to Rackspace. Cloud is also becoming the backbone for mobility, a growing trend in technology as a whole. However, organisations still seemed confused about where to take cloud – whether to adopt the public, private or hybrid approach and how to integrate it effectively into their processes.

Here’s a look ahead to the major cloud predictions for the coming year

1) Merging private and hybrid environments 

The first big trend industry insiders are predicting for this year is the merging of private and hybrid environments.

In the last few years, many companies have split their usage between public and private cloud offerings, with those services focused on infrastructure and apps in the private cloud, and email, storage and backup storage in the public version. However, businesses are now beginning to see the value of a hybrid solution.

Andy Hardy, Code 42‘s EMEA sales director, believes that in the longer term companies will start to see the value of changing their cloud set-up to make it more secure: “I think there are going to be many more looking at and adopting private and hybrid cloud deployments, which afford a much greater degree of security and control – two crucial traits for any organisation trading in sensitive business or customer data.”

2) IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

IDC has predicted that PaaS, SaaS and IaaS will continue to co-exist in the cloud, with all three growing together. The research company predicts $118 billion (£76 billion) will be spent across the three in 2015, although IaaS will lead the spending with 36 per cent year-on-year growth, thanks to the wider adoption of services like Amazon’s Web Services.

Hardy agrees that cloud services will grow, but there’s still a long way to go until they are widely accepted by organisations, with many preferring to test the water before making the jump to bigger services.

“For all the talk of cloud adoption among businesses, we’re still very much in the early stages,” he explains. “Right now, many companies are focusing on the public cloud, which, thanks to the SaaS delivery model, is an easy way to dip your toe in the water before committing to the cloud on a broader scale.”

3) Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a growing trend, both in the consumer and business space. In 2015, however, companies will start to think of how they might stitch the IoT into company structure.

Stephen Duignan, VP of international marketing at LogMeIn, believes that the IoT will revolutionise business, allowing companies to improve their value propositions, engage with customers on a whole new level, and build new revenue streams.

“In 2015, companies that manufacture products and want to better understand how customers are using them, will increasingly begin IoT-enabling operations to ensure products work properly and reliably,” he states.

“Companies will begin to connect their IoT-based product data to their key business systems. IoT-enabled companies will then quickly realise that connecting instantly accessible device data to existing data sources (CRM, ERP, billing, analytics, etc.) increases ROI across all departments including sales, marketing, customer service, finance, and product development.”

4) Mobilising the workforce 

A report by Gartner, looking into the technological changes in 2015, reveals that the focus for cloud/client will be on synchronising content and application state across multiple devices and addressing application portability across devices.

“Over time, applications will evolve to support the simultaneous use of multiple devices. The second-screen phenomenon today focuses on coordinating television viewing with use of a mobile device. In the future, games and enterprise applications alike will use multiple screens and exploit wearables and other devices to deliver an enhanced experience,” suggests David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens, in the workplace and public space.”

5) Data as a service brings the cloud together

2015 will also see the emergence of Data as a Service with the rise of data-driven marketplaces, such as Azure MarketplaceInformatica and Qlik.

With ‘data as a service’ comes data analytics, which is becoming increasingly important. Whether it be the responsibility of the CIO, CMO or other business leaders, ensuring that the workforce is ready for this transformation should be at the forefront of IT strategy into 2015 and beyond.

“Every app now needs to be an analytic app. Organisations need to manage how best to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the IoT, social media and wearable devices, and then deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time. Analytics will become deeply, but invisibly embedded everywhere,” Cearly concludes.