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2013 Cloud Predictions [Feature]

Jen Cohen Crompton

As 2013 approaches, businesses are preparing for the new year by allocating budgets, reorganizing resources, and launching new (or optimizing existing) strategies.

During this process, a consideration for many CTOs, IT Departments, and those working to create and manage an efficient [and for most, cost-effective] virtualization infrastructure, is how to integrate and/or best use cloud technology options.

To prepare for the transition into the new year and better understand the direction cloud technology advancements will shift, here are some bold predictions from industry experts who have a real sense of what is to come in 2013. Find out what they are predicting and why it will happen next year.

Prediction One: The Cloud Will Become a Necessity, Not an Option

Cloud adoption experienced quite a boost in 2012. In a July 2012 article, the Wall Street Journal reported that, “[A] survey, conducted by IT industry association CompTIA, found that more than eight in 10 companies use some form of cloud technology.” With the rise in understanding the importance of collecting big data, learning to analyze and manage big data, and the increase of employees wanting to work outside the confines of a desk and the four walls of an office, cloud adoption is gaining ground…and it will continue to increase adoption rate in 2013, making it a necessity.

Those who adopted cloud technology strategies found that the flexibility of cloud technology provided a cost-effective solution to increase storage space as their big structured and unstructured data needed a place to rest. The massive amounts of data were deemed important, but as social media and ecommerce data became more robust, the data sets became larger files requiring additional bandwidth. As Dick Csaplar, Senior Research Analyst, Virtualization and the Cloud, Aberdeen Group, points out, “A survey on cloud storage conducted by Aberdeen in June of 2012 found that the amount of data stored by companies grew at an average rate of 35 percent per year.” Imagine how much data companies will have by the end of next year.

Businesses also experienced a continued uptick of employees who prefer working from home and/or anywhere outside the office rather than being hardwired into the systems. The shift of the corporate structure (using contractors and satellite employees) required flawless accessibility to files and simplified collaboration to lead to quicker idea exchange and business innovation – all problems solved by a cloud.

Prediction Two: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policies Will Be Ubiquitous

BYOD was on the rise in 2012 with a growing percentage of large corporations allowing employees to use their own mobile devices for company related purposes. The reasons are attributed to individuals upgrading their devices quicker than corporations and wanting to have the flexibility to have access to files without being in the office. Companies, while still cautious with this concept, are becoming more accepting and implementing BYOD policies to ensure their confidential information will not be compromised. Even the federal government provides a working toolkit to help federal agencies craft a BYOD policy to ensure all bases are covered.

As Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Logical Operations, Inc., points out, “With more work being done away from the office, employees who can access the company’s systems with their own devices will be more productive,” so the positives of this allowance (increased productivity and a quicker flow of communication) are outweighing the risks.

The issue here is no longer, “Should we allow?” Instead, it’s, “How do we protect and ensure security during employment and beyond employment?” The answer is a defined, specific, and legally approved policy, which is why they will become ubiquitous.

Prediction Three: Hackers Will Hack On in An Epic Way

The most overwhelmingly similar prediction collected from most experts was that there would be a cyberattack targeting cloud services and highly-sensitive and confidential information. Dave Jevans, Founder and CTO of MarbleCloud, believes that the cyberattacks will come from hostile governments and that hackers will implement phishing sites and malware with the goal of stealing data and cloud passwords from individuals’ computers.

Zack Shuler, Founder and CEO of Cal Net Technology takes it one step further and adds that, “A major cloud vendor will be attacked by a foreign hack group leaving their cloud services unstable for days/weeks,” and this will result in a major distrust of the technology sparking a reconsideration of the type of information stored in the cloud. So, security will resurface as a major consideration.

And since the beauty of using cloud services lies in accessibility across devices, the attacks on cloud-based services will not only become a threat and potentially compromise data, but they will also affect mobile devices as mobile malware attacks increase. Ellie Bitton, Senior Director of Product Management-Virtualization at Fortinet points out, “As more businesses migrate to cloud-based services, cyber criminals next year will find a way to compromise them.” Bitton points to an example of Android’s Cloud to Device Messaging that suffered a malware attack, which monitored incoming and outgoing messages without the owner’s knowledge.

So keep your employees close and your hackers closer.

Prediction Four: The Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid Cloud Debate Continues…

There seems to be no end in site for the debate about which cloud solution is better, and that’s a good thing since each can be designed for a difference purpose allowing some flexibility in the design of the implemented cloud technology.

Part of the concern with the public vs. private cloud is that most organizations aren’t quite sure what this means and the implications of the decision to go in either direction. Due to privacy issues concerning enterprise data, companies that can afford it, generally opt to create a customized private cloud and/or use a hybrid option where the private cloud stores the data and the public cloud provides the functionality and collaboration capabilities. As Virtustream Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Simon Aspinall believes, “As more enterprises look to move their legacy applications to the cloud, they will find a hybrid cloud to be the most suitable…it [the solution] will combine the scalability and savings of a public cloud with the security of a private cloud for compliance requirements and enable isolation of sensitive data.”

But, as private cloud options become more affordable and organizations see the value in this type of system, adoption for this type of cloud in lieu of the hybrid approach may take over. Vishal Awasthi, CTO at Dolphin predicts that, “we [will] see a trend where commoditized peripheral applications will continue to move into a multi-tenant true SaaS model, while core enterprise ‘system-of-records’ applications will remain on-premise, or at best utilize virtualization on private or hybrid cloud.”

Either way, Andrew Hay, Chief Evangelist at CloudPassage sees, “organizations investing substantial time deciding how to extend their current compute strategy to give them the required cloud capabilities, and some may even consider replacing their technology outright if a migration or augmentation path cannot be found.”

The search for the perfect solution will continue.

Prediction Five: IT Departments Will Change

Since more information will be stored in the cloud, the IT department will have a level of support, based on the cloud service provider, but will have to adjust their skills by learning the  ins and outs of the new technology and serving as a resource on how to support the technology. IT departments might see their staff working to craft and incorporate the necessary BYOD policies and train employees on cybersecurity, something that will become increasingly important.

The Vice President of Cloud Services at Cbeyond, Chris Ortbals,  also sees IT departments becoming more responsible for making informed decisions about the technology choices as companies may “bounce from cloud to cloud. IT leaders will have a better grasp on what to realistically expect from their cloud services…and the transition of the cloud from a bonus to an expectation, will result in lengthier negotiations. Those businesses that began working within the cloud during its early stages…will likely reach, the end of their first cloud contract in 2013.”

So there you have it, some of the top cloud predictions for 2013. Now if only those experts could predict which cloud service will be hacked, maybe they could predict some cloud technology superheroes and prove us all wrong!

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About Jen Cohen Crompton

Jen Cohen Crompton is a SAP Blogging Correspondent reporting on big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related. When she's not blogging, she can be caught marketing, using social media and/or presenting at conferences around the world. Disclosure: Jen is being compensated by SAP to produce a series of articles on the innovation topics covered on this site. The opinions reflected here are her own.

Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.

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Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Design a Flexible, Connected Workspace 

John Hack, Sam Yen, and Elana Varon

SAP_Digital_Workplace_BRIEF_image2400x1600_2The process of designing a new product starts with a question: what problem is the product supposed to solve? To get the right answer, designers prototype more than one solution and refine their ideas based on feedback.

Similarly, the spaces where people work and the tools they use are shaped by the tasks they have to accomplish to execute the business strategy. But when the business strategy and employees’ jobs change, the traditional workspace, with fixed walls and furniture, isn’t so easy to adapt. Companies today, under pressure to innovate quickly and create digital business models, need to develop a more flexible work environment, one in which office employees have the ability to choose how they work.

SAP_Digital_Emotion_BRIEF_image175pxWithin an office building, flexibility may constitute a variety of public and private spaces, geared for collaboration or concentration, explains Amanda Schneider, a consultant and workplace trends blogger. Or, she adds, companies may opt for customizable spaces, with moveable furniture, walls, and lighting that can be adjusted to suit the person using an unassigned desk for the day.

Flexibility may also encompass the amount of physical space the company maintains. Business leaders want to be able to set up operations quickly in new markets or in places where they can attract top talent, without investing heavily in real estate, says Sande Golgart, senior vice president of corporate accounts with Regus.

Thinking about the workspace like a designer elevates decisions about the office environment to a strategic level, Golgart says. “Real estate is beginning to be an integral part of the strategy, whether that strategy is for collaborating and innovating, driving efficiencies, attracting talent, maintaining higher levels of productivity, or just giving people more amenities to create a better, cohesive workplace,” he says. “You will see companies start to distance themselves from their competition because they figured out the role that real estate needs to play within the business strategy.”

The SAP Center for Business Insight program supports the discovery and development of  new research-­based thinking to address the challenges of business and technology executives.

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Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.

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Innovation Without Boundaries: Why The Cloud Matters

Michael Haws

Is it possible to innovate without boundaries?

Of course – if you are using the cloud. An actual cloud doesn’t have any boundaries. It’s fluid. But more important, it can provide the much-needed precipitation that brings nature to life. So it is with cloud technology – but it’s your ideas that can grow and transform your business.USA --- Clouds, Heaven --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

Running your business in the cloud is no longer just a consideration during a typical use-case exercise. Business executives are now faced with making decisions on solutions that go beyond previous limitations with cloud computing. Selecting the latest tools to address a business process gap is now less about features and more about functionality.

It doesn’t matter whether your organization is experienced with cloud solutions or new to the concept. Cloud technology is quickly becoming a core part of addressing the needs of a growing business.

5 considerations when planning your journey to the cloud

How can your organization define its successful path to the cloud? Here are five things you should consider when investigating whether a move to the cloud is right for you.

1. Understanding the cloud is great, but putting it into action is another thing.

For most CIOs, putting a cloud strategy on paper is new territory. Cloud computing is taking on new realms: Pure managed services to software-as-a-service (SaaS). Just as legacy computing had different flavors, so does cloud technology.

2. There is more than one way to innovate in the cloud.

Alignment with an open cloud reference architecture can help your CIO deliver on the promises of the cloud while using a stair-step approach to cloud adoption – from on-premise to hybrid to full cloud computing. Some companies find their own path by constantly reevaluating their needs and shifting their focus when necessary – making the move from running a data center to delivering real value to stakeholders, for example.

3. The cloud can help accelerate processes and lower cost.

By recognizing unprecedented growth, your organization can embark on a path to significant transformation that powers greater agility and competitiveness. Choose a solution set that best meets your needs, and implement and support it moving forward. By leveraging the cloud to support the chosen solution, ongoing maintenance, training, and system issues becomes the cloud provider’s responsibility. And for you, this offers the freedom to focus on the core business.

4. You can lock down your infrastructure and ensure more efficient processes.

Do you use a traditional reporting engine against a large relational database to generate a sequential batched report to close your books at quarter’s end? If so, you’re not alone. Sure, a new solution with new technology may be an obvious improvement. But how valuable to your board will you become when you reduce the financial closing process by 1–3 days? That’s the beauty of the cloud: You can accelerate the deployment of your chosen solution and realize ROI quickly – even before the next full reporting period.

5. The cloud opens the door to new opportunity in a secure environment.

For many companies, moving to the cloud may seem impossible due to the time and effort needed to train workers and hire resources with the right skill sets. Plus, if you are a startup in a rural location, it may not be as easy to attract the right talent as it is for your Silicon Valley counterparts. The cloud allows your business to secure your infrastructure as well as recruit and onboard those hard-to-find resources by applying a managed services contract to run your cloud model

The cloud means many things to different people. What’s your path?

With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service, you can navigate the best path to building, running, and operating your own cloud when running critical business processes. Find out how SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud can deliver the speed and resources necessary to quickly validate and realize solid ROI.

Check out the video below or visit us at www.sap.com/services-support/svc/in-memory-computing/hana-consulting/enterprise-cloud-services/index.html.

Connect with us on Twitter: @SAPServices

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Michael Haws

About Michael Haws

Michael Haws is the Vice President of HANA Enterprise Cloud at SAP. His specialties include Enterprise Resource Planning Software & Services, Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore--Application, Infrastructure and Business Process Outsourcing.

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Consumers And Providers: Two Halves Of The Hybrid Cloud Equation

Marty McCormick

Long gone are the days of CIOs and IT managers freely spending money to move their 02 Jun 2012 --- Young creatives having lunch and conversation. --- Image by © Hero/Corbisexisting systems to the cloud without any real business justification just to be part of the latest hype. As cloud deployments are becoming more prevalent, IT leaders are now tasked with proving the tangible benefits of adopting a cloud strategy from an operational, efficiency, and cost perspective. At the same time, they must balance their end users’ increasing demand for access to more data from an ever-expanding list of public cloud sources.

Lately, public cloud systems have become part of IT landscapes both in the form of multi-tenant systems, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings and data consumption applications such as Twitter. Along with the integration of applications and data outside of the corporate domain, new architectures have been spawned, requiring real-time and seamless integration points.  As shown in the figure below, these hybrid clouds – loosely defined as the integration of data from systems in both public and private clouds in a unified fashion – are the foundation of this new IT architecture.

hybridCloudImage

Not only has the hybrid cloud changed a company’s approach to deploying new software, but it has also changed the way software is developed and sold from a provider’s perspective.

The provider perspective: Unifying development and operations

Thanks to the hybrid cloud approach, system administrators and developers are sitting side by side in an agile development model known as Development and Operations (DevOps). By increasing collaboration, communication, innovation, and problem resolution, development teams can closely collaborate with system administrators and provide a continuous feedback loop of both sides of the agile methodology.

For example, operations teams can provide feedback on reported software bugs, software support issues, and new feature requests to development teams in real time. Likewise, development teams develop and test new applications with support and maintainability as a key pillar in design.
After seeing the advantages realized by cloud providers that have embraced this approach long ago, other companies that have traditionally separated these two areas are now adopting the DevOps model.

The consumer perspective: Moving to the cloud on its own terms

From the standpoint of the corporate consumer, hybrid cloud deployments bring a number of advantages to an IT organization. Specifically, the hybrid approach allows companies to move some application functionality to the cloud at their own pace.
Many applications naturally lend themselves to public cloud domains given their application and data requirements. For most companies, HR, indirect procurement, travel, and CRM systems are the first to be deployed in a public cloud. This approach eliminates the requirement for building and operating these applications in house while allowing IT areas to take advantage of new features and technologies much faster.

However, there is one challenge consumers need to overcome: The lack of capabilities needed to extend these applications and meet business requirements when the standard offering is often insufficient. Unfortunately, this tempts organizations to create extensive custom applications that replicate information across a variety of systems to meet end user requirements. This development work can offset the cost benefits of the initial cloud application, especially when you consider the upgrades and support required to maintain the application.

What this all means to everyone involved in the hybrid cloud

Given these two perspectives, on-premise software providers are transforming themselves so they can meet the ever-evolving demands of today’s information consumer. In particular, they are preparing for these unique challenges facing customers and creating a smooth journey to a hybrid cloud.

Take SAP, for example. By adopting a DevOps model to break down a huge internal barrier and allowing tighter collaboration, the company has delivered a simpler approach to hybrid cloud deployments through the SAP HANA Cloud Platform for extending applications and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud for hosting solutions.

Find out how these two innovations can help you implement a robust and secure hybrid cloud solution:
SAP HANA Cloud Platform
SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud

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Marty McCormick

About Marty McCormick

Marty McCormick is the Lead Technical Architect, Managed Cloud Delivery, at SAP. He is experienced in a wide range of SAP solutions, including SAP Netweaver SAP Portal, SAP CRM, SAP SRM, SAP MDM, SAP BI, and SAP ERP.