Is 2011 the Year My Cloud Dreams Become Reality?

Rain clouds seen from MärketFor a long time I've been an evangelist for, what we call today, cloud computing. In my words it more about moving computing and especially information away from personal devices into a secure central location. This central location contains the single source of the truth, is always up to date and runs the latest version of the software. It's a managed service providing me with maximum convenience.

When talking about this with others, especially corporate business people, I always get many reasons why this wouldn't be possible or at least would take a long time to happen. There are connectivity challenges (how to work on a plane?), security concerns, doubts on feasibility (How can I edit HD video in the cloud?) and many political reasons going from job to business model protection. I hear, I listen and sometimes challenge: Imagine it would all be possible, what would be the benefits?

The move towards the cloud is going to be very disruptive, that is why so many people still hold on to the current, but it will happen anyway. I see it as very likely that 2011 is the year that marks a clear shift to the cloud, the key reasons are:
  1. For every on premise solution there is a viable on demand web based alternative. The web based solutions are as good, but just lack reputation and customer references. However it doesn't require many early adopters with a respected name to change the reputation of the web based solutions.
  2. Computing has become social and businesses need to integrate social into their business processes if they don't want to be left behind and perceived as old. Social solutions require reach and ease of access, the cloud is perfect. Integration between systems is still very high on the nightmare agenda of many CIO's and they like to avoid more system integrations. Many cloud based solutions have already adopted social aspects making them a more viable alternative.
  3. Mobility creates a huge demand for cloud based solutions. The central location of information makes it a lot easier to give mobile access. The rapid growth of smart phones in combination with new ways of working put mobile solutions high on the requirement list for businesses.
The disruption of cloud computing is still in the beginning, with two groups fighting for dominance:
  1. The existing enterprise software vendors trying to leverage their on premise installed base with cloud based solutions. These solutions are often an evolution of the current and very often repackaging or redeployment of the existing solutions in the cloud. 
  2. A new generation of software vendors that embraced the cloud from the beginning and build different more innovative solutions.
In 2011 it will be interesting to watch what is going to happen, are businesses going to:
  1. avoid risk and choose a path to slow cloud adoption with their existing vendors?
  2. embrace risk of moving to the cloud and leverage the risk against newer and more innovative solutions.
I'm gonna put my money on the last, because after the slowdown as a result of the financial crisis companies are ready for a change. What do you think?


Clouds are where the fighters hide before they attack the bombers.

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