Cloud Computing: Four years after the prediction, where are we now?

Harvard Business Review has been published each month since 1922 and is still regarded as a leading voice for leadership, organisational change, negotiation, strategy and operations.

3 May 2017

Management concepts and business terms such as balanced scorecard, core competence, strategic intent, globalisation, “marketing myopia” and “glass ceiling” were all first given prominence in HBR. Indeed, the definition of “Information Technology” originated in HBR in 1958.

Four years ago, in summer 2013, HBR published an article by Alexandre-Pascal Calderon-Asselin called The Future of Cloud Computing. He predicted a number of trends that he saw being in play by 2020. So far some of his predictions have been spookily accurate, even if he did underestimate the transformative pace of change we are now seeing. So where did he think we would be four years from now and how did he fare in the art of prophesy?

  • Predictive technology and software will soon make application monitoring more robust and accurate. Companies will be able to foresee disaster and avert it, mitigating damage to their systems. This will prevent downtime and make the company safer.
  • Datacentres will become more affordable, allowing companies to acquire data centres around the world in different time zones and thereby allowing them to guarantee 99.9% uptime.
  • Cloud Computing will enable and enhance remote access and faster disaster recovery.
  • Data accuracy must be ensured to avoid catastrophe or business interruption. In the future, migrations will be seamless, and technology will be more robust.
  • Mobile devices that rely on the cloud will become more powerful and thinner because all applications will be web-based. All mobile devices will store data that resides in the Cloud.
  • Mobile commerce will be on the rise.
  • By 2020, low-cost hardware will make it easier to configure advanced data centres capable of complex algorithms at fast speeds.
  • By 2020, Cloud Computing is expected to be a permanent solution in many organisations. Data centres will be automated and will support scalable software architecture. Cloud Computing will be the preferred method of hosting applications, platforms, and services.

  • How many of these trends are already industry standard, or at least in rapid adoption, a full four years ahead of Calderon-Asselin’s prediction? The answer is all of them! This demonstrates the disruptive nature of the Cloud – that everything predicted has actually come about three years early. The Cloud should not now be referred to as ‘the future’ when it is delivering today.

    It’s not just the technology that has changed, but the business model of how we consume IT services, with the shift from CAPEX to OPEX. It’s been an exciting few years and the pace of change will continue to be relentless. Are you ready?


    Andrew Wild

    Cloud Product Manager

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