2014 – Hybrid Hydra Reigns

Hybrid Hydra Reigns in 2014
As 2013 comes to a close and 2014 is upon us – we should reflect on what the actual current state of Cloud is.  The “Cloud” has reached a very similar point to virtualization – they have hit a point of Cloud Sprawl and Cloud Stall.  In fact many companies are now faced with taming the Hybrid Cloud Hydra.  A Hybrid Cloud Hydra is similar to the mythical beasts that many try to defeat in World of WarCraft or online fantasy games.  Unlike the games – it is in fact a reality for many in IT because the business, users, and even IT have run to the cloud without assessing true impact (Costs, Compliance, Consumption).

As a result many in IT are discovering that their users are leveraging 3rd party applications that put the company at risk from both a budgetary and compliance (security, regulatory, business) perspective.  Many I have interviewed have been impacted and surprised by the number of applications being leveraged in either a software as a service or infrastructure as as service in off premise environments.

Although there is quite a bit of hype and traction around Cloud – in 2014 we will see a retraction.  The pendulum has swung far in one direction to the dismay and disappointment of many from both the vendor and Enterprise IT community.  Why?  Because the Cloud has been hyped up as the easy button to solve all IT woes in people, process, and technologies.  Unfortunately, there is no easy button and many of the benefits being espoused need to be re-evaluated.  As part of the re-evaluation – 2014 will bring opportunity and renewed focus on IT.

1.  Year of Increased Audits
New Audit standards around cloud computing were published in May of 2012.  Audit will finally catch up.  They will have moved from discovery mode to enforcement mode with renewed focus on reducing risks for organizations.  This in part will be due to the increased risks to data and high profile attacks such as the one that occurred to Target customers over the holidays.  The increase in audits will drive change in behaviors both within the business and IT users.

2. Renewed Focus on Business & IT Partnership To this point both business and IT have not been partnering but working around each other.  The relationship between the business and IT will be put to the test this year by the Chief Financial Officer.  Many entities have reported that their business cases built either in absence of business or IT – were not realized to the point they had hoped.  In addition – many Enterprise leaders are finding that it may be more prudent to move to a hybrid solution for not only economic but compliance to key security, regulatory and risk reduction.  The business and IT leaders will come to a realization that they need each other.  That the business is not technical enough to go it alone and IT needs to learn to speak the language of finance to insure critical projects see the light of day.

3. Cloud Services will ExpandCloud Services will expand to help companies create processes, policies and procedures to create a cohesive cloud strategy.  Once the CFO paints the reality of the past efforts for cloud in terms of costs, compliance, and containment – both IT and Business will look to leaders in the space to help them create a cohesive Hybrid Cloud Strategy.  The role of the Cloud Service Broker will become a more critical role.  IT Leaders will have to become the Broker of Cloud Service Brokers.

4. All about APIs & Integration
2014 will be all about Enterprise IT driving vendors to provide open APIs and integrating.  APIs will be the key to interoperability and taming hybrid environments. They will be a critical component similar to what Simple Network Management Protocol and Management Information Bases did for Telephony and Networking in the late 90′s and early 2000′s.

5. Move to In Sourcing and MSPsMany Enterprise IT Executives will be slightly disappointed when the true cost of cloud is calculated.  There will be an insurgence in the the requirement of lifting and shifting work loads around from 3rd party providers to on premise.  Many software as a service solutions will be asked to consider becoming managed service providers on corporate private clouds to address concerns raised by audit, business, and finance. Enterprises will be interested in what is the best way to determine routes to cloud value and leverage legacy solutions with new cloud solutions.

The hybrid cloud hydra will not be tamed in 2014 but will start to become focus.  Similar to other major paradigm shifts – the cloud, mobility, and social media will continue to create challenges for years to come.  This year will just be the culmination of driving change in people, process and technology to address the challenges now that Cloud Sprawl has hit critical mass.  Although other key trends such as the need for Licensing as a Service, Cloud Cost Containment Models, and Hybrid Cloud Management portals will be in high demand the people, process and technology will still be too nascent for those areas.

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