Not so long ago, cloud services were perceived as a risky and unstable solution that may be somewhat useful in making less-than-critical functions of a business a bit easier. However, in no more than five years, they transformed into something that permeates every aspect of our life, both business and personal. Cloud-based solutions already dominate the market and cover most vital functions of the largest businesses out there, and this tendency is not going anywhere – according to IDC, no less than 60 percent of all IT spending and up to 70 percent of all software, services, and tech spending will be cloud-based by 2020. In other words, cloud technology should be perceived as a crucial element of a company’s competitiveness even if you don’t deal with SaaS. And knowing where the cloud technology trends are going is certainly worth it. In this article, we have collected the most impactful cloud technology trends you should consider before you launch the first version SaaS product of your own.
1. Solutions are getting more diverse
Broader and broader cloud technology adoption rates bring with them the diversity of technology and service delivery models. For a while the choice for enterprise cloud solution was mostly limited to an alternative between a variety of “cloudwashed” legacy solutions (i.e., old products more or less hastily rebranded to associate with cloud computing and the hype accompanying this buzzword) and standardized hyperscale solutions that often weren’t very good at meeting the requirements of particular businesses. This situation has been replaced by a variety of solutions for enterprises to choose from, including software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service combining different aspects of hyperscale and on-demand solutions.
2. Security concerns are drifting into the background
One of the reasons why many enterprises weren’t (and some still aren’t) in a hurry to adopt cloud solutions was security concerns. Just like with any new technology, its early implementations were often wonky in unexpected ways and were perceived by businesses as unstable and insecure. Needless to say, traditionally conservative big businesses weren’t eager to entrust their critical functions to solutions that may put them at risk.
However, as cloud-based solutions are getting more prevalent and diverse, these concerns rapidly drift into the background — of course, no solution is 100 percent safe and stable, but practice shows that any arising critical risks are easily addressable on the market. Therefore, the primary concerns of most businesses seeking to adopt cloud solutions have switched to another issue – that of efficiency and their ability to meet the needs of the most critical operations of an enterprise. In addition to that, as companies grow more mature in their use of cloud-based solutions, new issues, the ones that previously were left mostly unaddressed, crop up as well – for example, problems of network architecture, data and enterprise integration play greater and greater role in a company’s decision to use this or that solution.
3. The number of cloud-based solutions is growing explosively
According to Bain & Co., subscription-based SaaS is going to grow at an 18 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2020 — which is only one type of cloud-based solutions. This means two things.
First, businesses will have a much broader selection of solutions and services to choose from, many of them will target specific sections of the market, leading to further diversification and specialization. Secondly, any business willing to create its own cloud-based product will have to plan more carefully because of the rapidly growing competition. While a few years ago a SaaS service in a particular niche could have easily become the first of its kind and effortlessly acquire the initial client base, today there are fewer and fewer untouched niches with every passing day, and any newcomer is likely to deal with stiff competition.
4. The growing importance of hybrid cloud solutions
The prospect of a full transition to a cloud may seem alluring, but in practice, for most businesses, it turns out to be much more challenging than anticipated. Enter hybrid cloud solutions, allowing enterprises to make this transfer with the speed they prefer, thus decreasing potential security threats and lowering expenses.
5. Emphasis moves from cost reduction to enabling new business models
Seventy-six percent of enterprises expect cloud-based solutions to speed up IT-service delivery. This is an important milestone in the development of the industry — for most of its existence, cloud-based technology was primarily perceived as a cost reduction strategy, allowing businesses to avoid building up their own IT infrastructure from scratch and giving them an opportunity to use solutions created by others. Now we see that it is more often seen as a business model enabler in its own right. Businesses no longer see lowering the costs as the primary advantage of using the cloud — they seek to increase their flexibility and the ability to react faster and more efficiently to the changing market conditions. Or, as an alternative, they turn to the cloud as the foundation of their entire business model.
6. The role of IT departments is being reevaluated
The majority of enterprises encounter the need to rethink the role of their IT departments as a result of constantly growing investment in the cloud. Primarily it means that the IT departments that currently often exist in a somewhat isolated state from the rest of the enterprise have to demonstrate closer collaboration with other business units — the reason being that the influence of their work on the overall functioning of an enterprise is becoming too strong to continue using the current model. And, of course, the growing importance of the cloud means repositioning existing IT staff, hiring for more cloud-centric talent.
Cloud technology trends: Know them or face the consequences
The cloud is going to grow in importance in the years to come, and companies that understand current cloud technology trends can make the right decisions now and be better prepared for the future than their more conservative competitors. Don’t overlook this possibility — it may make or break your business.
Featured image: Shutterstock