Cloud Computing Evolved: Disruptive Technology Goes Mainstream
A 2010 information technology report by IDC (International Data Corporation, a global provider of market intelligence) provided a few interesting predictions for Information Technology in these changing times. Not surprisingly, many of the predictions centered around the same “ingredients of IT industry transformation” which were identified in past years as being disruptive technologies including cloud computing, mobile devices and applications, wireless broadband, virtualized infrastructure, social networking, and smart devices being among those listed. The subsequent 2011 report suggested a continuing trend of spending and innovation in cloud technologies and mobile computing and in collecting and analyzing the huge volumes of data being generated. It is clear that cloud computing is evolving from being disruptive technology to mainstream IT.
Everyone must by now recognize the significant growth in use of online and mobile applications and services. If you haven’t noticed that just about everyone has a smart phone or tablet computer, then you’ve got your head buried deep in the sand. What this clearly indicates, and IDC supported the position with quantifiable evidence, is that the “disruptive technologies” of yesterday have transitioned from early adoption to mainstream adoption. This means that use of these technologies had pushed “well beyond” the first 10 to 15% of the market through 2010, and that customers were ready to integrate these new solutions as core parts of their overall IT strategy.
If you don’t believe that cloud computing, virtualization, and mobile access are becoming (have become?) mainstream, consider the staggering number and variety of mobile devices and networks available today. The adoption of these devices is driven by the availability of broadband wireless service, and their use is fueled by applications offering “social business” and “pervasive analytics”. No longer limited as a voice communications device, the mobile phone has now become the mobile workstation, capable of supporting a wide variety of business and personal interactions and functions intended to help users generate and analyze “unprecedented volumes of information” – and the 2011 report indicates that mobile computing is continuing to fuel the trend.
“Mobility wins” will be the top theme of the year as mobile devices outship PCs by more than 2 to 1 and generate more revenue than PCs for the first time. 85 billion mobile apps will be downloaded, and mobile data network spending will exceed fixed data network spending for the first time.
IDC’s 2010 report placed an interesting focus on the impact of this new era of IT, believing that it would be a launchpad for the creation of “intelligent industry” with an IT-enabled “intelligent economy”. This doesn’t apply only to those very large multinational corporations, like the IBM commercials about a smarter planet and the commercials where the box tells us where it (and the delivery truck) is. This new-found intelligence would allow businesses of all sizes to offer better and more customized services locally while dramatically expanding their market reach beyond geographic boundaries, and positioning themselves for accelerated growth.
As the number of intelligent communicating devices on the network will outnumber “traditional computing” devices by almost 2 to 1, the way people think about interacting with each other, and with devices on the network, will change. Look for the use of social networking to follow not just people but smart things.”
Business owners who find a way to leverage this new capability through innovative applications of cloud computing and mobile device access will almost certainly find that their businesses are better suited to addressing the needs of their current market, but are also poised to take advantage of emerging opportunities in emerging markets as well.
In 2010 IDC predicted that by 2012 we would begin to see the “slow death” of cloud computing – the term, not the technology model. Even though cloud computing is one of the hottest buzzwords in tech today, the model is becoming mainstream to the point where it is no longer considered a bleeding-edge method of computing requiring its own descriptive name. While IDC may have been a bit off in terms of forecasting the slow death of “cloud” terminology, their finding that the evolution of cloud computing models is rapidly progressing from disruptive to mainstream appears to be spot on.
updated from original post in 2010