The 13 trending topics of cloud

When IBM's Doug Clark experimented with a Twitter conversation about cloud it was fascinating to see what key words dominate

As I glance over my shoulder at the clouds of 2012 I join Janus, the God of new beginnings and transitions, in that neck twist to the future and think about what journey is in store for cloud in 2013.   

To help with this thinking, I hosted a twitter conversation, for a week in December, exploring key trends for cloud in 2013. The idea was to encapsulate suggestions for the key factors at work in single capital lettered words such as Trust or Mobile.  The conversation was captured at #cloud13x13.  

With over 482 tweets and over 1.2 million impressions, there were around 80 key words emerging for cloud.  Old favourites were there such as Data and Security.  Emerging ideas that might truly become centre stage in 2013 such as Mobile and Social made an appearance.  New and different words such as Ambition and Orchestration also played a part. 

Now, #cloud 13x13 has its name as I wanted to explore the key 13 words that exemplify the cloud market in 2013.  Here are the words that emerged and the thread linking them together.    

The year of the cloud…Ambition and Pervasiveness   

Based on cloud fundamentals… Trust, Security, Resilience

Delivering core cloud benefits… Velocity, Simplicity, Efficiency

Particular growth from… Hybrid, Mobile, Platform

Requiring… Openness and Orchestration

So let’s explore each of these in a bit more detail.

Ambition and Pervasiveness.  While cloud is widely recognised as a technology game changer, its potential for driving business innovation remains virtually untapped.  2013 could be the time for organisations to deploy cloud ambitiously at scale to disrupt, transform and innovate.  In this way cloud will be increasingly across industries, geographies, workloads and organisations of different sizes. 

Trust, Security and Resilience have been key talking points for some time now, however it’s clear they are still perceived as essential success factors in cloud.  My colleague, Marc Van Zadelhoff, VP IBM Security Systems, believes that security will go from ‘buzz to boring’ over the next couple of years as security moves from ‘inhibitor to enabler’.   

Velocity, Simplicity and Efficiency are cloud benefits that stand out as making the most interesting difference for the end user or customer. Efficiency should be interpreted as more than financial. Carbon efficiency in particular was an emerging theme in the discussion. Velocity is about speed, but also agility.

Hybrid, Mobile and Platffom were seen as particular drivers of cloud. Most organisations will be managing hybrid environments. Mobile is both a growing source of internet related traffic and one that naturally fits with cloud. Platform as a service (PaaS) is seen strategically as a driver of SaaS and BPaaS.  There is a lot of thinking out there on cloud in 2013 and this blog by Forrester has some interesting points, especially around how cloud and mobile will become one.

Openness and Orchestration are both good words that encapsulate a number of ideas. Open relates to standards as well as competitive and commercial openness and the importance of eco-systems. Orchestration covers all aspects of the smart integration of cloud especially in hybrid environments and across eco-systems.

Interestingly, in truth, none of the words that came out of the discussion are new to the world.  In that sense, cloud in 2013 is cumulative nimbus - following through on the next stages in the journey and doing that well.

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