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Cloud Computing 2013: What’s Next for Enterprises and ISVs

Checkpoint for organizations to review and adjust their plans for the rest of the year

Having made it past the 2013 midpoint, it's time for technology-driven and/or technology-enabled organizations to evaluate plans and review outcomes so far, look at what has changed in the industry or business landscape; and realign for what the rest of the year has to offer.

Here are some checkpoint trends, observations and tips to help you review and adjust plans for rest of the year. These observations and suggestions are based on field work, intelligence gathered working with customers, partners, prospects and industry leaders.

Key Trends and Observations - Mid Year

  1. The cloud market continues to be led by pioneers such as Amazon and Salesforce.com while Microsoft, VMware, Google and IBM (along with SoftLayer) have made positive headways. Other players such as Oracle, SAP, HP, Rackspace, Terremark and NetSuite are emerging as serious contenders.
  2. Cloud computing is already a key strategy for most organizations. From being seen as a technology enabler earlier on, cloud computing is now garnering more interest for bringing reach, speed and flexibility to businesses.
  3. Cloud-managed business applications, field force connectivity and enablement of enterprise processes are becoming a priority for most enterprises. Cloud is also being considered as an integral part of the BC/DR strategy to ensure business continuity.
  4. According to a recent estimate by Gartner, the public cloud services market is expected to grow 62% by 2015, indicating increased spending on cloud services. Public cloud giants such as Amazon Web Services continue to make significant advancements into core areas like government, financial and public security through various cloud engagements like GovCloud, FinQloud and the recent news about the CIA's contract for similar reasons.
  5. Hybrid clouds are becoming increasingly important as enterprises express their comfort level with a hybrid model in general. Enterprise applications, such as those that demand low latency or deal with sensitive information, are run on a private cloud (close to the users) while other Internet-facing applications are run on public clouds. Technology vendors such as IBM, HP and VMware are bringing attention to many converged IT solutions that are scalable, highly available and are more easily managed than traditional systems.
  6. We see an enhanced trend with ISVs to incorporate cloud/SaaS-based offerings in order to remain competitive. On the one hand, ISVs are re-architecting existing applications for the cloud, while other groups are focusing on building new cloud-only offerings to deliver at faster speed to market. Applications such as Internet apps, user/content-centric apps, web services, collaboration, communication and management apps are the major beneficiaries.
  7. SaaS services such as CRM, support, human capital management, and office productivity have become firmly entrenched in businesses of varied shapes and sizes. With players such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Azure, ISVs are counting on added productivity boost to develop and manage their SaaS offerings.
  8. Open source cloud technologies such as OpenStack continue to develop a huge fan following and promise to offer an equal technology realm across different industry segments to create a level playing field for all. The open source PaaS framework Cloud Foundry with its revised strategy has started creating an ecosystem that promises to significantly impact the PaaS roadmap for organizations.
  9. As innovation becomes the next big business theme, cloud computing is becoming a must-have for businesses to fuel faster innovation. Cloud-based technology naturally propels and has potential to promote trends like a mobile-first service strategy and a Big Data-based delivery of business insights as a service.

Recommendations for ISVs to Consider While Adjusting Plans for ROI

  1. Invest in creating reusable product packages that can be deployed on multiple clouds and via multiple topologies. We continue to see cloud provider customers asking for reusable ISV application packages to quickly serve enterprises and deploy their workloads in different cloud environments.
  2. By delivering products through on-demand mechanisms such as app exchanges, third-party catalogs, cloud brokerage services and multi-tenant web enablement platforms, ISVs can create better product penetration. Some of the providers we work with are already in the process of building service marketplaces and this presents a good opportunity for ISVs.
  3. Employing cloud services for non-engineering functions like marketing, promotion, billing, support, and social integration can fast track revenue generation. Many of our ISV customers are seeing immediate value in this approach in addition to helping them keep the focus on their core product or additional feature development.
  4. New cloud applications such as LOB as a service, integrated service management and consumer applications may create new revenue streams for ISVs operating in respective domains.
  5. Cloud-based high performance computing, Big Data and video collaboration can provide new opportunities for ISVs to build tools and troubleshooting solutions. Solution providers working in these areas including ourselves are seeing a great need for such tools to help manage customer deployments effectively.
  6. To enhance time-to-market, ISVs can build business solutions on one of the proven public cloud platforms that offers conducive and highly productive environment suited for the specific solution context.
  7. APIs will get standardized but, until then, ISVs should avoid the trap of building against proprietary APIs by developing for loosely coupled custom brokerages. Enterprise-wide API programs will see considerable upscale over the next two to three years.

Recommendations for Enterprises that Help Ensure Long-Term Benefits from Cloud Strategy and Their Investments

  1. Articulate your cloud strategy to better leverage your existing infrastructure, avoid vendor-lock in, work toward aggregation and dynamic allocation of services, on-demand business processes, rapid application development and building an innovative business. We see our customers benefiting from implementing a broad-based strategy rather than taking a piecemeal approach for cloud enablement.
  2. Build a focused cloud migration plan for external facing apps, internal facing apps, operation-centric apps and apps that are mobility-centric.
  3. Rationalize the applications and services that are mission-critical, non-mission critical and less critical with the considerations and best practices for private, public, and co-located cloud models. Look for guidance if you need it to help rationalize the applications that will help you kick-start the cloud enablement roadmap in the right direction.
  4. Modernize traditional IT through virtualization, advanced management, automation, and self-service that ultimately drives the path to enterprise cloud enablement. Most of our customers have already moved past virtualization and are working on advance management and self-service strategies.
  5. Customers, partners, and employees are your key stakeholders. Centralize and unify their experience by building new-age enterprise portals that give access to product information, marketing, orders, partners, customer service, etc. Even simplistically put the cross-pollination of ideas around stakeholders' engagement can provide good innovation opportunities to enterprises.

We'll revisit these trends and recommendations at the end of the year to find out what has worked, what has changed and what it all means for the year ahead. Meanwhile, feel free to email your thoughts and experiences to my email address mentioned on my profile page.

More Stories By Jiten Patil

Jiten Patil is Principal Technology Consultant & Cloud Expert, CTO Office, at Persistent Systems Limited, a global leader in software product development and services. He has 15 years of industry experience and has spent the past 6 years working with cloud service providers, ISVs and enterprises in the field of SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and hybrid cloud computing solutions. His key expertise is in guiding organizations for cloud strategy and roadmap, solution architecting for public & private application services, platform services, multi-tenancy methodologies, application enablement and migration, devising new cloud solutions, tools and IP products, and doing competitive assessment across cloud technologies. He can be reached at [email protected] / Twitter @jiten_patil

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