2013 will also see a further convergence of social, mobile and analytics as an integral part of every cloud application with a consumer grade user interface.
Cloud is also forcing customers to demand more open standards from the industry - common programming languages and standard application interfaces will help customers consume cloud applications.
For public sector markets, industry players will likely increase the scope and intensity in delivering 'hybrid cloud' models where parts will be in public cloud and a significant portion in the G-Cloud or private cloud. This will help government agencies address data sovereignty requirements and at the same time take advantage of cloud benefits.
As more investments continue in developing local data centres both private and government-owned, there will be more mature offerings available to customers. To begin with, hosted solutions will likely be a logical starting point. There is also a likelihood of government app store along the lines of what the US Federal Government had initiated and the UK Government's recent announcements.
Overall, it is an exciting time for the industry in general and the ones who can genuinely adapt to the new thinking will continue to be relevant to customers.
As customers continue to push the cost savings agenda, there is an increased pressure to reduce costs in delivering ICT capabilities. Capital funding is likely to remain scarce in 2013 which will create an incentive for agencies to take a serious look at the 'pay as you go' model that cloud solutions typically offer.
For public sector agencies, in addition to funding pressures, availability of ICT skills continues to be a challenge as they compete for talent with the commercial sector. Simplification of the systems landscape and ability to take a standard process out of the box reduces the pressure on skills and availability and address the retiring workforce issue.
As a result, there will be increased demand to look at all cloud options and pick the ones that meet data sovereignty requirements and security standards. In Asia, the mood is likely to favour a 'hybrid' cloud model for applications.
As various cloud solutions delivering point solutions emerge, customers have to look out for carrying the risk of integration on themselves and address this carefully. Another issue is to ensure the cloud solutions are able to meet country specific legislative requirements for finance, tax, payroll and so on. SAP's roadmap to provide integration to the core suite as well as deep public sector industry content through years of specialisation will be an advantage for public sector customers.
While cloud offers the promise, customers will still need to carry out due diligence just like they do today in picking the solution that is right for their business strategy.
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