If it feels like everybody is talking about the cloud, it's not just your imagination. Worldwide spending on public cloud services is growing at 19.4 percent compound annual growth rate and shows great promise for 2017. Is your business dependent on cloud computing more than ever? What, if anything, will change in 2017?
I have been in the IT business over 10 years. I started at IBM Global Services and then founded a company that grew into a national provider of IT services. I've witnessed the transition from customers buying hardware, installing on-premise email servers, worrying about disaster recovery, and running out of data center space.
In other words, I've spent a lot of time analyzing trends, and I predict that the trend of cloud adoption will accelerate in 2017. Here's what to keep in mind if you're considering entering the business, or if you want to get ahead of the curve.
IT Skill Sets Will Undergo a Shift to the Cloud
As more companies adopt the cloud, the demand for people with cloud expertise increases. To respond to this, more IT departments will be making cloud-focused training a priority. Some of the training will focus on hosted databases, infrastructure-as-a-service, and cloud security. Companies will also look for employees that have experience with major cloud platforms like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Multi-Cloud Will Become Prevalent
Amazon Web Services has, and continues to be, a market leader and innovator for infrastructure-as-a-service public cloud computing. However, Microsoft and Google are biting at the heels and will evolve into stronger competitors in 2017. Companies should start considering working with more than one cloud provider at a time - for cost savings, performance, disaster recovery and other reasons. Third party tools can help them manage multiple clouds and figure out which costs the least.
We Will Slowly Move Toward Heuristic Automation
IT automation will slowly transition from traditional scripting to defined workloads for tasks, and eventually arrive at heuristic automation, a form of AI that uses algorithms to decipher how a process works.
As noted in this TechTarget piece, "Start down the heuristic path by appointing an automation leader in IT, automating script discovery and rewarding administrators for building resilient, structured scripts."
Analytics Will Grow for IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already started generating vast quantities of data which is dumped into cloud storage. The next step is to improve our analysis of this data. Unfortunately, IoT data is often stored across disparate systems, making it difficult to access. In order to resolve this issue, analytics software needs to be able to connect to these databases and combine data from disparate sources. Once the data is properly mined, visualization tools can be used to help businesses make better decisions.
IT Will Shift to New Types of Software Deployment
While traditional IT departments have had to focus on maintaining and updating software and hardware, their focus with cloud will deal with new software deployments within the cloud environment. These complex deployments allow IT to show off their subject matter expertise and help manage change for the organization.
Cloud Adoption Will Improve Customer Satisfaction
Since companies can reduce costs, become more efficient and scale more easily with the cloud, it's allowing customer satisfaction to become more of a focus. Vendors know that a client can leave anytime, so they're making greater efforts to build long-term success for their customers so they will stay. This means they are providing better customer support and training to help customers to adapt to their cloud environment more easily. This allows for longer relationships and happy customers.
Cloud will continue to redefine how IT works and will free up businesses from the burden of physical limitations. For those involved in building and support tech, knowing public clouds intimately will continue to pay dividends. For those making business decisions, no major company technology initiative can be complete without evaluating at least two of the major cloud providers.
Kirill Bensonoff is a seasoned entrepreneur and the founder of Unigma, a unified cloud management platform. Unigma has been featured in a number of publications, and Kirill blogs regularly about the cloud, tech and growing your managed services business. He can be reached at email@example.com.