Though some of the trends related to cloud services for the year 2013 are pretty much clear to everyone, experts believe there may be some surprises as well. This article explains the top 5 trends in the ongoing year:
1- Increased Mobile Options
As the barriers between our work and private lives divulge, and smartphones become the preferred interface for sales persons and executives, it is expected that cloud providers will focus more on mobile phone apps. One example is Salesforce.com which has already begun offering original apps for smartphones.
Hence, it’s imperative that while searching for cloud service vendors, keep in mind to what extent the vendor caters to the growing customers needs to link mobile phones with cloud services.
2- Embedded Reporting and Analytical Features
User’s need for dash boarding and reporting through apps is likely to increase in 2013. One such example is Workday which offers detailed analysis to its users.
The pre-requisites you shall look for are dynamism of reporting and configurable options. Also, it is important to consider the analytics of mobile applications. Ask questions like, to what extent you can bring external data into the mix? And what will be the metrics of the data showing up in the analysis?
Reporting and analytics also depend on the associations the vendor has with other dealers. For example, Microsoft has a partnership with Dynamic CRM online, while SAP collaborates with SuccessFactors, etc. These links provide vendors with a much needed depth and competitive edge.
3- Need for Configuration Options
With the changing dynamics, clients now prefer configuration options ? more than customization for their applications, because organizations don’t want the hassle of maintaining and constructing a custom code.
Preference of configuration over customization does not imply it being easy to implement. However, companies do want to avoid all the testing and tweaking of the code ? every time there is an upgrade in the application.
Customization also has its pros and gives more flexibility and functionality, which sometimes vendors are unable to provide. Hence, it is always best to consider both options and then weighing-in your options.
4- Emergence of Financial Applications
Financial applications have seen a huge surge in their demand in recent times, and it seems all vendors have realized this opportunity and are responding to it. Workday, Netsuite, FinancialForce.com and Salesforce.com have all launched their accounting and financial applications. Recently, Oracle and SAP have also joined in.
However, if you wish to have an efficient and professional functionality for planning and budgeting, you should go for financial managers such as Anaplan, Host Analytics and Adaptive.
Although financial applications may not be as critical to the organizations as CRM, but still, as the need for cloud services even for mid-sized organizations is growing, the need for cloud-based financial deployment is expected to increase.
5- Benchmarking Statistics
With cloud service dealers accumulating huge amounts of data, they are in a perfect position to organize data in a meaningful way and create benchmarks for specific industries. The process is simple: like ERP vendors, cloud vendors ask companies to offer their own stats in return for ‘first class’ stats across their industry.
SuccessFactors, one of the pioneers of benchmarking among cloud providers ? was involved in this long before it was even acquired by SAP. It seems that Workday is gunning to give benchmarking statistics as well.
The above mentioned 5 features are expected to impact cloud computing in 2013. And with the latest trends of cloud acquisitions, it seems the growth in cloud services won’t be slowing down soon.