Even closer to home, CompTIA’s Third Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study indicates that the market for cloud solutions in the United States is robust, with the number of organizations using cloud resources rising for the third straight year. More than eight in 10 companies currently use some form of cloud solution, and more than half plan to increase cloud investments by 10 percent or more in 2012. CompTIA's study found one in five companies are contracting with channel partners to aid their transition to the cloud.
Industry Predictions. Cloud computing and communications analysts, providers and channel partners predicted growing traction for all cloud services, but hybrid (public/private) deployments in particular, in 2013. Mobile access to corporate IT assets and applications will be a primary driver. Security, however, is expected to overshadow all cloud discussions and deployments.
"Hybrid environments will continue to be the preferred method of consuming cloud in combination with existing infrastructure and technology especially in larger organizations while small businesses will lean more towards a cloud-centric model."
— Gartner's Tiffani Bova
"The smartphone and tablet explosion will force more and more companies to give their employees access from multiple devices securely, which will drive the desire for virtualized and cloud environments."
— FusionStorm's Jason Kraft
"Security will play a big role in cloud computing this year, and one of the biggest changes we'll see is organizations starting to engage in predeployment validation of network devices, firewalls, ISPs, cloud providers, etc."
— Ixia's Bob Usher
Channel Opportunities. As expected our panel cited growing demand for cloud collaboration, contact center, disaster recovery, storage and basic business productivity apps as low-hanging fruit for channel partners addressing the space. Surprisingly, more of their comments focused on business model transformation — from defining cloud roles to moving up the customer value chain.
"[Cloud] is an opportunity for high-margin, high-value solution selling as well as a reason to call on and engage with line-of-business executives who see cloud as a means toward reinventing their business."
— IBM's Angela Trillhaase