Going virtual: Why 2015 will be a big year for cloud technology

Cloud computing has caused significant disruption over the past few years, and it has understandably grabbed the attention of the business world.

In recent reports from Computerworld, it was noted that 42 per cent of IT decision makers plan to increase IT spending on the cloud this year, with the greatest growth being seen in organisations with more than 1,000 employees (a total of 52 per cent).

What's more, the Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology 2013-2018 found that cloud workloads will evolve, with 59 per cent set to be Software as-a-Service (SaaS) by 2018.

This means that this year, and over the next few, cloud computing will grow and develop, becoming a technology that cannot be ignored. However, businesses should be aware of how to effectively manage the technology.

On a growth path

As evidenced above, cloud technology is on a substantial growth path. Centaur Partners found that SaaS and cloud-based business application services revenue will climb exponentially in the near future. According to the firm, it will grow to $32.8 billion in 2016, up from $13.5 billion in 2011.

The cloud is the future of business services.

The cloud is the future of business services.

This year may seem like just another stepping stone on the massive upward swing for the technology, but it's important to remember that more and more businesses are continuing to utilise the technologies – and 2015 will be another milestone.

The year of the cloud

Taking a closer look at specific industries when talking about the cloud, can help to give a more localised view of what can often appear to be merely a buzzword.

By seeing what certain industries are achieving, companies can better understand how they might use the technologies effectively.

IDC recently explored the manufacturing sector, and found that a substantial number of businesses in the industry are now taking advantage of both public and private clouds. In the US alone, 41 per cent of manufacturing respondents to an IDC survey said they are now accessing IT resources over public clouds.

"Manufacturers are in the midst of a digital transformation, in which 3rd-Platform technologies are absolutely essential to the way they do business and in the products and services they provide to their customers," said Kimberly Knickle, research director, IDC Manufacturing Insights.

"Because of cloud's tremendous value in making IT resources available to the business based on business terms – speed, cost, and accessibility – manufacturers must  ensure that the line of business and IT management work together in defining their requirements."

While directed at manufacturing, the lesson holds true for all businesses – a strategic approach is often best. In doing so, it's easier to avoid potentially costly mistakes.

While many companies rush to adopt the technology – often times fast enough to cause issues – others need to remember that strategic adoption is the best approach.

If businesses want to start taking advantage of cloud technology, it's important to think about the usefulness of powerful frameworks. In most cases, these can be used to ensure that the technology is adopted in the most strategic way possible.