Clear skies or stormy weather? What's in the clouds for 2013.

As someone who lives and breathes cloud computing, I thought I might take a moment away from the day-to-day to reflect on what we saw in 2012 and take a look at what major trends and developments I predict will move the industry forward in the new year. The popularilty of the enterprise, the increasing need for security in the cloud and an even more consumerized workforce are all factors I took in account when making these predictions. Here is where I see the cloud headed in 2013:

  • We can rebuild IT, we have the technology – and the technology is changing the way that IT works. Over the years, we’ve learned a few things from the Six Million Dollar man, and IT is going to have to be faster and stronger to keep up with the tech revolution. That means a class of IT pros who are as likely to have MBAs and Product Management pedigrees as they are to be gamers and nerds.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – is not just a mantra for plastics anymore, and enterprise companies are going to be focused on these three things. Reducing costs and redundancies by using cloud solutions. Reusing what they’ve already invested in, why throw it away if you can cloud enable it? Finally, recycling the old ideas we wanted to throw away because our minds were clouded by the cloud. Focus is on the fundamentals for 2013.
  • Beam me up Scotty – Gone are the days of year long sales cycles, lengthy POCs and 12-18 month implementation plans. Enterprises will have to catch up to the craziness caused by BYOD, BYOW, and all the other acronyms that crowded 2012. And what’s more, IT will have to do it at warp speeds or get lost in the ether.
  • Enterprise is the new black – Ok, so last year hybrid was the new black, but as Heidi Klum says about the fashion world, one day you’re in, and the next day you’re out (well not totally). With consumer IPOs tanking, we’re going back to the basics, and enterprise software that’s designed to have a real ROI and business use is where it’s at.
  • Welcome to the Data Revolution – while many in the world are looking to create borders, the enterprise will try and remove them. This year we’ll see a move to disaggregate data access from data location. Behind the firewall, third party cloud, public cloud, in the closet, under a bed, enterprises will want to control where the data lives, but want employees to do their work without worrying about accessing it.

Predicting the next 12 months of movement in the tech industry is always difficult, but talking with many of our customers, it became clear that IT and the enterprise stand front and center. As we move from traditional enterprise product life cycles to steady streams of enhancements and new features, it’s inevitable that it will affect everything from sales cycles to implementation cycles and more. IT will have to take a business use case approach to building products for internal consumption, and they’ll have to do it in a quarter the time. Attention spans are shrinking, and employee tolerance joined with a do-it-yourself mentality has them chomping at the bit for solutions, yesterday.

What do you think, did I miss any major trends or themes for 2013? Let me know in the comments below.

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