Head in the cloud, but what’s on the horizon?




Cloud computing is arguably one of the most game-changing technologies of the last decade, and shows no sign of slowing pace. The benefits are well acknowledged, from cost savings, flexibility, economy of scale to speed and agility. As a result of which, more and more organisations are adopting cloud IT platforms and solutions.

But what does the future for cloud look like?

Hybrid cloud
As the marketplace and technology develops, organisations will look to streamline what they do. Cloud is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ answer – you should think less about whether to go with ‘public’ or ‘private’ solutions and more about what you actually need to achieve. Utilising both public and private cloud allows you to leverage the prepackaged solutions available in the public cloud whilst at the same time retaining key systems that still require full control in a private cloud within the organisation. This provides reliability and security, but can be hosted by a cloud provider or partner.

We are progressively seeing a shift towards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) as the preferred model of cloud services. Essentially, this negates the need for you to buy or maintain hardware and software for developing cloud based applications, because it is all looked after by the cloud provider. You can focus on controlling the development and deployment of applications across your network, whilst leaving the mechanics of infrastructure and ops to the provider. In theory this should offer best-practice and secure deployment, at a lower cost and better quality. While PaaS is still in its infancy, it’s definitely something that will become as popular, if not more so than Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.

Boundaryless computing and ‘Bring Your Own Cloud’
Soon, cloud won’t just take over business functions like email and CRM that were previously handled by traditional IT, it will be deployed for new applications that are difficult or impossible to run with old technologies. The outcome is ‘boundaryless’ computing, where devices in the home, workplace, and the Internet of Things provide seamless information for both businesses and individuals.

From this comes ‘Bring Your Own Cloud’ (BYOC), a concept that allows your employees to use public or private third-party cloud services to help with certain tasks (for example, DropBox, Google Drive etc). BYOC often involves the convergence of enterprise and consumer software, both in the cloud and on-premise, to complete a job. This is a particularly useful strategy for SMEs, to reduce the operational costs related to IT services. However, be sure to think about your security policies when mixing consumer and enterprise data together via BYOC.

With business driving cloud adoption in the Everything-as-a-Service culture that we’re moving towards, it will be interesting to see how cloud will develop and which organisations adopt the above trends in the coming months and years. One thing is for sure, those that do will undoubtedly have an edge on their rivals.

Are you already using cloud within your business? What do you think of the future of cloud? Let us know in the comments below.

Adrian Simpson, chief innovation officer, SAP UKI

For more information on cloud for SMEs, take a look at our Innovation Guide