We are in the year of the sheep, according to the Chinese Zodiac, which should herald 12 months of promise and prosperity. In technology terms, 2015 could be viewed as the year of the cloud. After all, we are finally reaching a tipping point where the promise of on-demand IT is being fulfilled.
According to researcher IDC, the cloud now accounts for a third of all IT infrastructure spending. When it comes to applications, Forrester suggests the global outlay on software-as-a-service will reach $106bn by 2016, or about 17% of total enterprise application spending.
Such huge figures are a far cry from the early days of the cloud at the end of the last decade. Then, analyst Gartner talked about how on-demand IT might re-shape enterprise computing, while industry experts started to build the hype around the purchase of both software and infrastructure as a service.
Today, the cloud is a business essential. While a move on-demand might once have ruffled the feathers of senior executives, a transition to the cloud is no longer seen as a risk. Effective governance can help to establish which sectors are able to move which parts of their business online.
Executives have woken up to the fact that it is more cost effective and efficient to push non-core processes to third party providers. Why would a non-IT firm run an internal data centre when external third parties have invested cash in tried-and-tested systems and services?
So great is the belief in the cloud that many executives would question a decision not to move such areas on-demand. With the platform now seen as mature, experts suggest that organisations will look to make more use of the cloud. This may include re-platforming legacy systems, the support of highly scalable apps and the launch of innovative customer services, especially in regards to mobile.
In short, 2015 might represent a tipping point for the cloud. But in terms of the value that such systems and services can bring to the business, the prosperity that comes from using on-demand IT has only just begun.