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2016 cloud predictions for APAC's IT transformation journey

John Engates, Chief Technology Officer, Rackspace | Jan. 14, 2016
John Engates of Rackspace predicts how the cloud market will change this year.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

As I look back, beyond just 2015 to the last few years of predictions I've made, the trend is clear: IT transformation is picking up speed and will continue to rely on expansion into the cloud, while a focus on cybersecurity and the search for talent will continue to impact the industry.

Analyst firm IDC has called 2016 the year "digital transformation scales up," and I couldn't agree more. In 2015, I described a multi-cloud world where value in cloud meant more than lowest cost; where companies would begin creating the exact mix of cloud infrastructure they need for their workload, such as what we've seen with the rapid adoption of hybrid cloud strategies.

And this shift is happening globally. For example, the Asian Cloud Computing Association noted in its recent report , "Asia's Financial Services: Ready for the Cloud," the authors write that "the scalability, agility, security and cost effectiveness of Cloud Services offers significant commercial benefits to all customers," noting that it is "inevitable" that cloud services will evolve into mainstream IT services provision, including in financial services.

With demand for cloud services increasing, so of course is the need for talent. Cloud computing is expected to create 14 million new jobs globally between 2011 and the end of 2015 - about 10 million will be in APAC. The talent shortage (and poaching!) for highly skilled IT professionals we've seen in past years shows no signs of abating, yet according to the Spiceworks "2016 State of IT" report, IT budgets will remain flat in 2016. That means we'll see more companies keep their own IT departments lean and mean, and rely on trusted partners who do have the ability to attract and maintain the right talent.

On a related note, I think we'll see more technology and cloud service companies find that scarce talent not by beating the bushes harder or poaching, but by creating it themselves, through partnerships with colleges and universities (and even each other) which includes developer training and accelerated onboarding of new developers to the community. Longer term, we'll focus on better collaboration to build needed enterprise features in OpenStack.

The talent shortage is another reason we'll see security as a service continue to take hold. Security is simply not a core competency for most companies, and ensuring the right expertise against an always-evolving threat will become increasingly more difficult - and expensive. In addition to economies of scale, cloud companies offering security as a service also offer economies of expertise. Businesses need to take on a proactive approach to security threats in 2016.


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