I am making a prediction on how the small-medium business market will adopt cloud computing. That’s a risky business, predicting. But we are rolling into a new year, so the time feels right.
My premise is this: adoption of cloud computing will mirror the adoption of virtualization.
The first wave will be infrastructure: development, test environments, backup, disaster recovery. These are not your line-of-business apps. These are not tier 1 apps. These are the solutions that allow an IT team to cut their teeth and learn with minimal risk to the organization’s mission.
The second wave will be point solutions. These are IT solutions to business problems. Need a workflow app? Need a point-and-click reporting solution? Turn to the cloud. These can be considered tier 3, maybe even tier 2. Still, these are not line-of-business apps. These solutions allow an IT team to add value in the business with their cloud savvy knowledge.
This will inevitably lead to a wide range of technologies and vendors. Someone will call this cloud sprawl, and set of the third wave. Consolidation of existing solutions under one cohesive framework. At this point, the bumps will be smoothed over. The technology will be proven. IT teams and businesses will then seek to move tier 1 and line-of-business software to the cloud.
The time frame for this shift will be 3-5 years. My thought is this will play out like other game changing IT solutions. The pace will be set by the organization weighing cost savings against risk. The vanguard will be IT teams that progress thru the first and second waves, before the third wave comes and swamps the ship.
For IT teams, the trick is to build the in-house expertise and keeping cost competitiveness with public cloud solutions. For businesses, the trick is to ensure that IT solutions are proceeded with based on cost savings and value propositions, rather than based on hype. For everyone involved, this will be an interesting 3-5 years.