Complex cloud ecosystems emerge in 2013

    While the cloud may have experienced a slow uptake when it first emerged in the private sector several years ago, decision-makers around the world are rapidly gained confidence in the technology after experiencing the benefits of using it first hand or witnessing other organizations do so. In the coming years, more mission-critical tools will move to the cloud, including business phone systems, customer relationship management platforms and general storage repositories.

    Research firm Ovum said the cloud is currently in its adolescence stage and it will be approximately another five years before it reaches full-scale adulthood. In the meantime, growing volumes of data will act as the oil that fuels its spread throughout the business world. If decision-makers take the time to properly plan the cloud's deployment in the workplace, their company will be more likely to experience success in the long run.

    "Cloud computing promises to tackles two hitherto irreconcilable IT challenges: the need to reduce costs and the need to boost innovation," said Laurent Lachal, senior analyst at Ovum. "It takes a lot of effort from vendors and enterprises to actually make it work, and they will succeed in making it work in 2013, both on their own and as part of increasingly complex ecosystems."

    The rise of the omnipresent cloud

    Ovum analysts said 2013 will see the deployment of complex cloud ecosystems, which are public cloud environments used as central hubs for providers and users, as well as sophisticated application delivery platforms. The cloud will be particularly influential in the adoption of next-generation collaborative technologies, especially as companies begin to replace old phone systems with more advanced offerings.

    "[Cloud ecosystems] offer a new way to accelerate participation in the rapidly evolving social networking and mobile solution ecosystems of the internet age," Lachal said.

    A report by IBM highlighted how telecommunications and cloud will continue to merge in the coming years because cloud PBX systems provide organizations with the opportunity to carry out mission-critical tasks more efficiently from virtually anywhere. As more companies rush to deploy cloud communications, each firm will likely fall under one of three main categories: optimizers, innovators or disruptors.

    The optimizers will use cloud services to improve current operations and enhance customer value propositions. Innovators will leverage the cloud to use unique assets that can generate more robust revenue streams and develop contemporary business models, IBM reported. Disruptors, on the other hand, will create radically different strategies that will expand their offerings and create new sales prospects.

    In the coming years, integrating telecommunications and cloud services will be a requirement for organizations to innovate and remain competitive, especially as the macroeconomic crisis continues to impact executive decisions. By using the cloud, companies of all sizes will be invited to experience new opportunities and enhance current operations, making them more likely to succeed in the long run.