The cloud market is changing. As adoption becomes mainstream, more and more providers are jumping on board to provide a range of services — once Amazon's bailiwick, Tech Target notes that the retail giant is now under challenge from players like Google, IBM and HP while new entrants such as Chinese giant Alibaba look to make their mark.
All this cloud interest means there are a host of new management technologies in development; here are four key trends to watch this year:
The Software as a Service (SaaS) market continues to grow, and according to Enterprise Irregulars global SaaS revenues are set to reach $106 billion by 2016. However, as discussed by Information Management, there's a shift happening: As-a-service tools are starting to go vertical. Through 2015, expect that all the familiar standards — CRM, ERP, analytics — will continue to see strong growth, but chances are that vendors will take a more focused approach to SaaS moving forward as a way to target specific verticals. These include finance, health care, law and even manufacturing; public and private clouds have matured enough that this kind of specialization is now possible. What's more, the price war between Google, Amazon and other vendors is helping to make these kind of focused deployments even more affordable for companies just starting their transition to the cloud.
According to a recent Search Cloud Computing article, another key trend in cloud management is migration. At a basic level this includes app migration — tools and approaches developed to make moving legacy apps a simpler and more streamlined process. This also extends to migration as a whole; providers are now willing to invest in making cloud migration a “turnkey” process, eliminating the need for lengthy deployments and uncertain timelines. In many cases the success of this trend rests with specialized vendors, for example, hosted PBX providers, which have developed solutions to work across a variety of cloud deployments and legacy systems. The sophistication of cloud infrastructure now makes it possible to deliver solutions which combine easy migration and use.
Another key trend to expect this year? More off-site innovation. As noted by Forbes, the nature of research and development (R&D) is changing. Companies are no longer dependent on in-house IT professionals to innovate the apps and platforms from end to end; it's now possible to leverage work done by other IT shops to form the basis of new computing solutions. Through 2015, expect the speed and sophistication of this innovation to increase, allowing companies to devote more of their IT budget to refining mission-critical apps and developing niche feature sets rather than starting from scratch with each new software tool.
Security at Scale
The last key trend for 2015 lies with security. Always a hot-button topic around the cloud, Information Age suggests that it's now possible for cloud vendors to get ahead of the security discussion and provide consumers with a new level of confidence. Bottom line? Cloud providers have the scale of resources, depth of knowledge and breadth of skill to create best-in-class security solutions. As more vendors take a proactive approach to cloud security, expect to see this market diversify and innovate, prompting a shift in IT security thinking as a whole. In effect, the right management strategy here can turn the supposed liability of cloud security into an asset, since the scale of provider technology makes it possible to offer much more robust, end-to-end protection.
2015 should be a banner year for management technologies as vendors spend on innovation and companies commit IT budgets to the cloud. Four large trends are already on the horizon: Vertical SaaS, turnkey migration, off-site innovation and an evolved security landscape.
This is a Guest Post.
About the Author
Sheldon Smith is the current Senior Product Manager for XO Communications. In addition to his experience heading up the Hosted PBX and Conferencing products divisions at XO, he also has over 10 years of Department and Process Management experience.