Discussion Point What Can We Expect from the Cloud in 2015

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd doesn't hide his enthusiasm for cloud computing. In a LinkedIn post this week, he said "Cloud computing is triggering a stunning shift in how businesses operate. Modern SaaS applications for marketing, HR and (enterprise resource planning) ERP are allowing companies to accelerate operations and engage more intimately with their customers thanks to heretofore unseen heroes in their ranks."

And he's not the only one who thinks the cloud is revolutionizing the way business is done. A new report from Dublin-based Research and Markets concurs that developments in the field of enterprise mobility and cloud computing has transformed the way enterprises undertake their operations.

It notes that the adoption of hybrid cloud solutions are gaining momentum among enterprises, and that this cloud delivery model will go mainstream in the coming years. Already, with market shares of 13.5 percent, 10.8 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, the retail, healthcare and government sectors have already invested significantly in cloud computing solutions in recent years.

Even the future of SharePoint is in the cloud.

So what developments, evolutions and innovations can we expect in cloud computing this year?

The Question

What can we expect from cloud-computing in 2015?

The Answers

Margaret Craig, CEO, Signiant


Craig brings a wealth of media technology experience to Burlington, Mass.-based Signiant, a provider of intelligent file movement software for the media and entertainment industry. Before assuming leadership of Signiant in October 2011, she served as COO of Ascent Media Network Services, a provider of content creation, management and distribution services. There she led the technology transition to file-based infrastructure and oversaw contract negotiations with some of the world’s largest broadcast organizations. Before that, she was CEO of Leitch Technology, a provider of technical infrastructure for television production and transmission, and served as president of Snell & Wilcox, a provider of video image processing software and hardware. Tweet to Margaret Craig. 

In 2015, I predict we’ll see the ubiquity of cloud technology and dramatic price cuts from the big suppliers moving the majority of enterprises toward cloud adoption. As performance continues to improve, new capabilities are brought to market and innovation continues around security and latency, it’s simply no longer credible to categorically take an anti-cloud stance.

As enterprises across industries adopt the cloud, there are three key trends that will gain traction. First, hybrid cloud architectures will dominate. Rather than making a wholesale move to the cloud, many enterprises will incrementally adopt it in appropriate pockets. (Software-as-a-Service) SaaS adoption will also continue to accelerate, and this won’t just be driven by cost benefits – there are very real operational benefits of SaaS software that tend to be overlooked. 

It’s easier and more cost effective to deploy and manage, easier to use and automatic updates provide access to rapid innovation. Finally, we will see designed-for-the-cloud workflows bring efficiencies to enterprises. Some of the most transformational cloud projects don’t just move an on-premises workflow to the cloud, but rather re-design it to take advantage of the technology.

Antoine Leboyer, President and CEO, GSX Solutions


Leboyer leads Swiss-based software vendor GSX, which makes monitoring, reporting and management solutions for numerous enterprise collaboration environments. He has seen Information Technology from all sides by working for vendors of all sizes. After 12 years in sales and marketing positions at IBM, he started the European Indirect operations of Candle Corporation. He worked for startups in software distribution and mobile phone billing software. In his most recent position he was Senior Vice President of Baracoda, a producer of Bluetooth industrial devices. He is co-author of the book "Building Routes to Customers: Proven Strategies for Profitable Growth." Tweet to Antoine Leboyer.

The importance of cloud-based deployment will continue to grow with significant effects on separating commodities and value-add businesses. 2015 will be the year of cloud-computing spin-offs. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a prime candidate. Median price/earnings ratio (P/E) for retail and IT services are too wide apart. But there are plenty of other candidates.

IBM should realize (or admit it has already realized) that the systemic shift to the cloud is affecting much more beyond the entry server business it already sold to Lenovo. It should spin off at least two “Baby Blues”: its services unit and the technology business. And even the technology business would benefit from being broken into smaller units, Hardware and Software. 

A similar case could be made for Oracle, which should spin off its hardware business from the higher margin software one.

Finally, BlackBerry will stabilize its headset business and spin off in two units, headsets and enterprise services. While the former business is now a niche with value for its niche, the core products on the enterprise side with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server is a multi-billion-dollar market leader with at least five times the share of its competitors whose visibility and mindshare are reduced by the headset business.

Separating commodities and value-add businesses has never been so important for corporations. This may take some time, but corporate lawyers and Wall Street investment bankers could have a busy time in 2015.

Lakshman Narayanaswamy, Co-Founder and VP of Products, Sanovi Technologies

Lakshman Narayanaswamy.jpg

Narayanaswamy has more than 20 years of experience in the networking, information and storage management, as well as the IT recovery and Disaster Recovery Solutions spaces of the information technology industry. One of the co-founders of Sanovi, he has five patents in the area of Storage and Data Management. As VP of Products at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Sanovi, he is responsible for product management and marketing of the Sanovi disaster recovery manager (DRM) suite of software. Before co-founding Sanovi, he co-founded Sanrise, a global storage service provider company. He has also held engineering and technology strategy positions at Auspex, Silicon Graphics and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. Tweet to Lakshman Narayanaswamy.

Because enterprise cloud adoption is poised to grow in 2015, enterprises will look for tools, technologies and service providers that provide the visibility and reporting to deliver on the advantages the cloud offers. As applications and IT services become cloud aware, the ability to string together multiple cloud services based on a particular workload will become relevant. Cost will become less important and a cloud solution that addresses customer needs will be most important across heterogeneous platforms such as bare metal, public cloud and private clouds. The ability to manage multiple clouds and vendors will become more relevant.

OpenStack will celebrate its fifth birthday this year. The technology is more mature and adoption will increase greatly, as will tools and management.

Online backup offerings and business will get subsumed by comprehensive Disaster Recovery-as-a-Services (DRaaS) that provide workload availability and data protection. Our application defined continuity intelligence, for example, enables enterprise customers to leverage the various cloud offerings while meeting their business recovery goals.

Marc Kalman, CEO, Bizlate


Kalman is an experienced business leader and supply chain expert with nearly two decades of experience helping small and medium size businesses (SMBs) improve supply chains and operations. In fact, for the past five years, Supply and Demand Chain Executive has named him a top supply chain professional. In 2011, he founded New York City-based BizSlate to help wholesale distribution and manufacturing businesses improve how they manage customers, vendors, orders, logistics, and their overall supply chain. The company's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution in the cloud is designed to help SMB distribution businesses to compete on the global stage. Connect with Marc Kalman on LinkedIn.

Software-as-a-service will continue making significant strides in the SMB enterprise software market this year. As SMBs become increasingly comfortable with running ancillary applications such as customer relationship management and campaign management in the cloud, there will be an increased adoption of core systems such as supply chain and accounting in the cloud. 

Small businesses typically find themselves understaffed and over worked. With the intensifying pressures of a global, omnichannel, competitive marketplace, SMBs are recognizing that they can access tools essential for success via cloud-based alternatives.

In some ways, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is similar to leasing a new car.  A leased car offers more features and upgrades than if bought outright. When the lease expires a new and improved model can seamlessly replace the older model. Accessing enterprise software via SaaS empowers SMBs to receive more for their money and pay for the application over time as a predictable monthly expense in the profit and loss. Upgrades are at no additional cost, often automatic, and with little to no disruption to the business.

SaaS providers will challenge the boundaries of the ease-of-use common to small business applications with more enterprise functionality. Tools will be developed that increase enterprise power and are easy to use, mobile and affordable. Well-known legacy providers will attempt to further transition from on-premise software to SaaS options, however, without changing the core methodologies that drive their applications' behavior, these providers are likely to be out-maneuvered by nimble, aggressive startups.