It's extraordinary to look back at the predictions I made at the turn of the year to see just how far we've come. With hindsight, it seems self-evident that mobile and social would become core to enterprise software strategies, and yet a year ago, it was still a novelty to suggest either. The need to serve itinerant clients and tap into social information and activity streams has only served to reinforce the need for highly connected, cloud-centric computing stacks that are transforming the nature of enterprise software. It's all part of what I'm now calling the move from fixed to frictionless enterprise — the cloud in its widest sense is becoming a platform for the evolution of new, highly interactive, hyper-connected business models.
There was a time when people used the term private cloud to describe IT infrastructure that follows cloud principles but is isolated from connections to the public Web. I believe that idea has been thoroughly discredited by now. As we learned earlier this year when it became known that RSA's security keys were thought to have been compromised, the security of what's inside your firewall is dependent on what goes on inside other people's firewalls. We are all interdependent, and it's not an option to cut yourself off entirely, because how then are you going to do business? The world is connected and burrowing through those connections comes software, as Marc Andreessen succinctly puts it, eating the world. If you're not connected, you're history.
As we move forward into 2012, that recognition of the pervasive nature of cloud technologies will engender a more mature attitude to cloud in the enterprise, one that aims to harness and manage both private and public cloud resources within a hybrid environment that leverages the best strengths of both. Cloud is no longer something ethereal and remote, but instead it touches and envelops every existing IT asset. Cloud has landed and must interact effectively with what's on the ground — and vice-versa.
Which brings me to the one unfulfilled prediction I made last year, that 'IT management gets wired to the cloud'. If enterprises are to adopt cloud successfully, then having reliable tools for cloud governance is essential.