We touched on the state of the cloud market in a recent post, but we wanted to delve even deeper into cloud predictions for 2016. Here’s what to expect in the coming year:
“Cloud-first” strategies will increase.
While cloud technology has already proven itself essential to business operations, it will continue to mature in 2016. It’s considered a “disruptive innovation,” and is changing the way business is done, from the top down. We won’t necessarily read about it in every other news release anymore, but cloud-first strategies will increase on all levels: national, regional, municipal, and enterprise. And this will put a lot of focus on exactly what the cloud can do – or as IT World Canada describes it nicely, the “-ilities.” These include portability, accessibility, usability, manageability, confidentiality and credibility.
There will be a focus on business transformation.
We’ve moved past the introductory stage of cloud computing. As we discussed in our recent blog post, The Next Phase of Cloud: Transformation, moving to the cloud but leaving the rest of the organization unchanged and untouched is not really the point. At this stage, simply implementing cloud services isn’t enough, because that really just means replacing existing IT functionality.
Today, it’s about more than simple cloud delivery. It’s about cloud consumption. Naturally, organizations will experience levels of improved efficiency throughout their business simply by switching over to the cloud, but these benefits won’t continue to grow unless attention is paid to transformation. This requires businesses to make tangible changes to their processes, models strategies and organizational structures, with the support of the cloud. The competitive advantage of switching to the cloud isn’t even as great anymore, as it has become a mainstream solution. To remain competitive in an increasingly digital business world, organizations need to focus on how they can leverage the cloud to enable true digital transformation, change how they do business, and disrupt the market. (WSJ) This will be a major focus of 2016.
The IT role will evolve.
As more and more organizations invest in cloud business solutions, IT departments will increasingly collaborate with other departments and transition from a support to innovation focus. And more specifically, we’ll see the CIO step up to new responsibilities. Statistically, the CIO has majority influence when it comes to cloud purchasing processes, even compared to the rest of the C-suite.
CIO stated, “The role of IT is shifting from ‘support the business’ to ‘be the business.'” While some think that the cloud is removing the IT role, we’ll see that it’s not going anywhere. It’s just evolving.
Security will be top of mind – still.
Hey, it’s a good thing. It means businesses care about their data. This year, businesses moving to the cloud will pay close attention to privacy and ownership of their data. Security remains important for both businesses and their customers.
Currently, security is still the top challenge faced in cloud adoption, and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to change in the new year. However, we might also see security transition from a barrier to cloud adoption to one of its main benefits, as many providers have stepped up to the plate and boosted their security offerings. Many cloud providers have solid security track records and greater expertise and resources than companies have in-house. Providers have the capability, and money, to invest in state-of-the-art security. So while security is a barrier for some, it will be the major driver for others. This will be an interesting transition to watch in 2016.
Development and testing will move to the cloud.
2016 looks like the year to move development and testing into the cloud – it’s even predicted that this will be done entirely in the cloud by 2025. This confidence is due to the clear ROI in making this move. When development and testing is done in the cloud, IT teams get to avoid buying, licensing and configuring things like servers and databases to create development environments. They’ll avoid wasted resources and inefficiency.
The Internet of Things will explode.
There’s a certain hype surrounding the Internet of Things, but it can’t be denied that it’s proving to be a powerful force. By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected via the Internet – so imagine how much growth that means just for the next year! Gartner estimates that we’ll see a whopping 30% increase. All types of “things” will become software defined. We’ll see wearable technology continue to advance, as well as development of in-home smart systems or smart city technology. The IoT will change the way we live, and cloud computing is a key enabler of this.
It’s all about personalization.
Today, technology is expected to fit the needs and expectations of the end users, not the other way around. Users know what they want, and they’ll look at all their options until they get just that. Customer expectations and business demands are changing as we experience the transition to a digital business model. This will certainly impact technology and cloud developments. Things like user interfaces, mobile devices and self-service applications will continue to mature to specifically accommodate today’s users.
Big Data will transform.
Up until now, Big Data has been extremely focused on the collection, storage and processing of large amounts of data. This year, we’ll see greater emphasis put on the actual analysis and use of this data, which will lead to the discovery of trends in regards to customer preferences or product development. With these insights, businesses will be able to make huge strides in product or service delivery, and targeted marketing efforts. And of course, data will continue to grow exponentially.
Cloud knowledge will be key.
According to industry expert David Linthicum, cloud knowledge will be key this year, and we agree! With the cloud growing in popularity, many organizations need capable teams building, running and designing cloud solutions. That requires in-depth knowledge that not enough people currently possess. This will require greater training and certification programs in 2016 (like RapidScale’s CloudUniversity platform, for example!).
We love this time of year! We get to reflect on the cloud in 2015, and look forward to changes in 2016. What do you think of the cloud predictions we compiled? Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comments!
Start the new RapidScale CloudUniversity course, 2016 Selling Cloud Strategies, for sales training, tips and more information on cloud in the coming year.