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2014 forecast for cloud computing

Sharon Florentine, Thor Olavsrud | Jan. 2, 2014
Cloud computing has proven to be one of the great disruptive technologies of our time, and the effects of its increasing adoption and maturation will ripple out through 2014. Here are 10 predictions for how the cloud will impact IT in the coming year.

2. Human Resources and Marketing Take Charge of Tech Innovation

Traditionally, when departments wanted to adopt and deploy new technologies, they had to go through the IT department, DiBenedetto says. Human resources and marketing department heads were often at the bottom of the technology priority list, and had to develop sophisticated ways to sell their needs to the IT department. With the cloud, however, that process is completely turned on its head, giving HR and marketing, for example, just as much purchasing power as the rest of the business, he says.

3. The CIO Becomes a Cloud Enabler

As IT changes and moves away from the traditional 'gatekeeper' role, so too must the role of the CIO change, DiBenedetto says. The cloud has put tremendous pressure on CIOs to reinvent themselves and their role in order to remain relevant. If they want to remain innovative and drive a cutting-edge organization, he says, they must educate their teams, help them get to the cloud faster, and be on the front lines of innovation.

"To stay successful and relevant, CIOs have to embrace the cloud. They have to drive change management, challenge current and outdated processes, and knowing that they're going to have to do things differently," DiBenedetto says.

4. Small Companies Have Access to Big Software

The cloud has democratized the software and applications procurement process to the point where even the tiniest company can have access to game-changing solutions, DiBenedetto says. And that shift has opened up a new wave of innovation and competition for legacy application providers like Oracle, SAP, and other huge software companies. That democratization will continue in 2014, he says.

"Almost anyone can put an application on the internet now, provide services and support via the cloud without the backend infrastructure that was previously needed," he says. "These smaller firms won't compete based on platform, but the heated battles will occur in the niche application market," he says.

5. Shift to Application-centric Software Development

Finally, the move to an application-centric approach to software development will gain even more ground, DiBenedetto says. The cloud has created a market environment where less emphasis is placed on hardware and much more on software, and larger vendors are going to be forced by consumers to create these types of solutions, he says.

"Again, the cloud is enabling more innovation, and we're going to move toward 'solutions as a service,'" DiBenedetto says. "Users are going to be in control the use of technology based on what they need on a daily basis, whereas before, technology and innovation were controlled from the top down. Large vendors said, 'You need this software program to do your job,' but now, this is going to be driven from the bottom up. We've waited for this - and needed this, for almost thirty years," he says.


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