Blog | The future of cloud

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By Mariels Almeda Winhoffer

mariels

Cloud adoption accelerated in 2013 as emerging technologies like mobile, social, Big Data, and analytics are becoming more pervasive ? a necessary capability to be able to compete in the era of cognitive computing systems.

The push for interoperable clouds, built on open standards; the evolution of delivery models and the convergence of cloud ecosystems are just a few examples of trends that will shape the cloud computing industry and revolutionize how products and services will be consumed. As a key enabler for business transformation, Cloud provides increased access to products and services, helps establish new business models and promotes new opportunities for innovation.

Based on the insights gained from the $6 billion investment in research and development, 1,400 cloud patents and more than 37,000 cloud experts, IBM looked ahead to see what cloud would bring in 2014:

1. The continued adoption of cloud across different business lines and the spread of shadow IT will lead to a fundamental shift in the role of the CIO

The role of the CIO is changing from a manager of traditional IT systems into a broker of cloud infrastructure, applications and information services. As the cloud becomes more pervasive in various lines of business, IT will start to assume ownership of integration, service levels and governance around cloud services.

A similar view was further seen in IBM’s recent C-Suite Study, carried out by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, with findings from over 4,000 CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, CIOs and other C-suite leaders from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide. The report titled ?The Customer activated Enterprise?, found that two-thirds of CIOs are exploring better ways to collaborate, via cloud computing and social networking tools, in order to develop and deliver what customers want ? or uncover what they don?t yet know they want.

CIOs today must also strengthen their relationships with existing IT partners, which will become increasingly important to help them as they transition into this new role. By partnering with experts to help guide them on their cloud journey, IT leaders will be able to create business value by reducing risk and accelerating the implementation of cloud services.

2. Cloud Foundry will emerge as the de-facto standard for platform-as-a-service (PaaS)

With support from IBM, the OpenStack foundation launched in September 2012, emerged as the de-facto industry standard for infrastructure-as-a-service with over 12,000 people involved in the project by end of 2013.

As platform-as-a-service offerings mature, the push for a similarly ubiquitous platform built on open standards will intensify as organizations look to avoid vendor lock-in while meeting the demand to build cloud based mobile, social and analytics applications.

IBM believes that Cloud Foundry will emerge as that de-facto open standard. In fact, in June 2013, IBM announced a collaboration with Pivotal to further development of the framework and to establish a governance model for the community.

3. Industry specific clouds will become the norm, driving cloud adoption in finance, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, energy, and utilities and more

Until recently, most clouds fell into the ?one-size-fits-all category,? with basic cloud features and benefits applied to every organization, regardless of industry. But organizations belong to a specific industry with unique needs, challenges and advantages.

To help facilitate and expedite the move to the cloud, industry specific clouds like the IBM Municipal Shared Services Cloud are being developed to help organizations with a common shared service outcome, social need or business requirement leverage cloud services faster and more efficiently.

IBM is already delivering industry specific cloud services to clients in a range of industries, including in healthcare, government and energy & utilities. Expect to see more of these in the year ahead.

4. The rate of adoption for private clouds will continue to increase

Over the last several years, private cloud deployments have driven a large percentage of the overall cloud spending. In fact, IBM experienced more than 100 percent year-to-year increase in private cloud wins in 2012 globally and we expect this trend to continue through this year and beyond.

5. Mobile-first, cloud-delivered enterprise applications embedded with analytics will create new possibilities for real-time data analysis anywhere on any device

Intelligence is rapidly moving away from individual devices and into the cloud, while an increasingly diverse array of devices is being used to complete essential job functions. As cloud, mobile and Big Data continue to converge, large data sets stored in the cloud are leading to new opportunities for data analysis that were never before possible.

In 2014, new services like the IBM Watson Developers Cloud will begin to emerge that will lead to development of a new generation of applications that are infused with intelligence. As a result, smarter applications will lead to a higher overall level of innovation as access to Big Data analysis increases.

6. Cloud ecosystems will expand and converge to deliver top-to-bottom solutions built on open standards

Cloud ecosystems are networks where partners and third parties converge to build and deliver an enhanced range of services on top of cloud platforms. As uniformed open standards are increasingly embraced up the stack, ecosystems will expand and will begin to work together to develop top-to-bottom solutions that can be leveraged across any open cloud platform.

Users who are running on top of an open cloud will benefit tremendously from this convergence while those running on proprietary models will see their IT deployments become increasingly isolated.

It is a recognized fact that cloud computing?s escalating growth is unstoppable and the reality is, this is just the beginning as the technology still has a lot of untapped potential. During a recent industry symposium, reputed analyst firm Gartner also alluded to this growth mode in cloud and predicted that the bulk of new IT spending by 2016 will be for cloud computing platforms and applications with nearly half of large enterprises having cloud deployments by the end of 2017 (Source: Gartner Says Cloud Computing Will Become the Bulk of New IT Spend by 2016). Cloud technologies built on open standards have the opportunity to become the norm. Not just in business, but in every way we touch technology.

Developing markets like the Philippines can make significant economic progress in the near and distant future by seizing the huge opportunities cloud computing presents.

Take for instance the case of MediCard, one of the largest health maintenance organizations (HMO) in the Philippines. An IBM cloud computing solution ? SmartCloud Enterprise Object Storage has improved MediCard?s customer service through faster and easier access to electronic patient health records.

Shifting to the cloud can also significantly enhance an organization?s services and offerings. A good example is how Fasttrack, a software and consultancy services firm based in the Philippines, leveraged the IBM Smartcloud Enterprise solutions to provide its clients with a more stable and secure enterprise resource planning production environment for financial management, human resources and customer relationship management operations.

Cloud computing enables better access to emerging technologies via the World Wide Web. It provides both technological and economic innovations that IT vendors and users can appreciate. As organizations begin to realize that the cloud can do so much more than simply speed up or reduce the cost of their IT, the cloud will have a significant impact on the way we work and play.

The author is the president and country general manager of IBM Philippines

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