As we close out 2012, we look ahead to expected trends in cloud computing for 2013. Bring your own device (BYOD) continues to be at the forefront, but big data and business intelligence are among some of the key challenges expected to have a significant impact on businesses next year. Many experts predict both VPNs and desktops eventually disappear.
1. BYOD remains the biggest issue: The proliferation of employee-owned devices – specifically smartphones and tablets – in the enterprise, the challenges that IT departments face trying to identify and manage such a wide variety of endpoints, and the desire for employees to work from anywhere, at any time has been the catalyst for the rampant demand on IT services and support within the enterprise.
Smartphones are expected to outpace PC sales by 4:1, and tablet sales will match PC sales by 2016. This exacerbates the problem, because employees are no longer accessing the network from a lone desktop computer. IT managers are struggling to keep track of what type of and how many devices are using their network. We estimate that mid-sized enterprises often underestimate how many mobile devices are accessing their networks by at least 50%. While this is not a new problem, it is one that will become more challenging as we continue to make the transition from PC to table/thin device.
2. VPNs will become obsolete: Greater use of cloud solutions is giving more employees the opportunity to access corporate resources remotely through their iOS, Android and now Windows-based devices. With mobility driving worker productivity, enterprises are looking at even more cloud services to support new and innovative use cases, which then spur even greater use of mobile technology. That snowball will keep gaining steam until client-based VPNs become completely obsolete.
3. Applications as a Service (AaaS) will replace your start button: As enterprises move more functionality to the cloud, we’ll see a huge shift to cloud-based applications. Desktop management has always been a drain on IT support. Moving applications to the cloud makes sense not only from a resource standpoint, but also from a cost and accessibility standpoint, as more employees use personal mobile devices for work.
4. Big Data is a big headache: The trend to come is Big Data. As more mobility takes over IT, there will need to be data that can be exposed to the mobile devices. This means a more concerted shift from physical documents to electronic ones. As we become a more electronic world, we have real challenges we need to deal with in terms of storage of all that new (or old converted) electronic content. The problem is that our data archival models of the past do not work for unstructured data (documents) because they were designed for structured (database) data. So, we have to figure out how to store the mass of unstructured (scanned) documents, and more importantly, how to index and retrieve them.
5. Business intelligence and analytics are key: Once we get a handle on the Big Data problem and have figured out how and where to store and retrieve the unstructured data, we will need business intelligence and analytics that can work against these new storage and retrieval paradigms
In essence, these are a single trend, but are serial rather than parallel. As we dabble in the cloud, we are faced with more BYOD. As we have more BYOD, we need more data.
As we get more data, we have big data issues. As we have more big data issues, we have more of a need for the cloud, and thus we need an easier way to get to our big data.
As we define better and more mobile ways of working, we have less need for client VPNs. As the data proliferates, we need better ways to find the information we need, and in comes analytics, indexing and archiving. This is the proverbial snake eating its tail.