In 2012, the more forward thinking enterprises forged ahead with cloud computing strategies, BYOD and the consumerisation of IT continued apace and the government push in cloud computing gained momentum. As we cast an eye on the future, here are what we believe will be the top 5 trends and technologies for 2013.
1. Windows machines will no longer be the default choice of the IT department
During 2012, increasing numbers of organisations adopted "bring your own device” strategies or provided staff with company-owned iPads, Android tablets and Chromebooks as they moved applications into the cloud. In 2013, as the move to cloud computing continues, corporate IT departments will no longer automatically refresh ageing user technology with the latest generation of Windows-based systems, but instead evaluate numerous platforms to see which best fits their needs.
2. Cloud adoption will continue to grow rapidly as more conservative users finally turn to the cloud
With a significant number of companies being forced off Exchange 2003 implementations as Microsoft ends support, we expect to see a third of them migrate to Google Apps rather than stay with Microsoft. Gartner's confirmation that Google Apps is a viable alternative to Microsoft Office for most users will make businesses question the value of renewing Microsoft Enterprise Agreements that lock them into paying for licenses and software they may not use.
3. Enterprise cloud storage and document sharing will go mainstream
Just as 2012 saw IT directors wake up to the dangers of staff using consumer systems to collaborate when corporate IT fails to meet their needs, 2013 will see them respond to employees' growing use of consumer cloud storage and document sharing solutions like Dropbox and Box.net to get their work done. Enterprises will start to regain control of their data – and address security and compliance issues – by rolling out integrated and controlled cloud solutions such as Google Drive as part of their corporate solutions.
4. Businesses will make greater use of "social computing" tools to get work done
Many businesses introduced a range of communication and presence tools – such as browser-based chat and video-conferencing or enterprise social networking in the form of solutions like Google+ -- as by-product of moving to cloud computing for email and document collaboration. In 2013, we'll see younger staff – who typically prefer to use social computing tools in their personal lives -- drive wider adoption of social computing within the enterprise by making these tools their first choice for collaboration with colleagues.
5. Cloud computing take-up will (finally) take off in the public sector
The launch of the Government's first G-Cloud catalogue in early 2012 might have helped the public sector become more comfortable with the idea of cloud services, but procurement and budgeting processes meant few were able to take immediate advantage of cloud services. With the advent of the new financial year in April 2013, the launch of a third version of the G-Cloud catalogue, and the increased buzz around cloud generated by high-profile projects such as NHSmail 2, we expect to see far greater numbers of public sector organisations rolling out cloud-based IT in 2013.