It's critical to understand that differentiation exists in the mind of the buyer, not the mind of the seller. Cloud service providers will need to understand the motivations of buyers and will also need to understand that many cloud buyers are different from traditional enterprise buyers-they may work in enterprises, but they don't have the same needs or goals as their counterparts. Proffering a product with the traditional functionality, language and selling approach to this new type of buyer is pointless.
In 2013, I expect "enterprise cloud" to be a meme that moves from a market segment description to a drinking-game meme. Every time you hear it, you have to take a sip of your beer.
2. Enterprises Realize That Cloud Computing Means, Well, Cloud Computing
One big realization on the part of enterprise IT groups this year has been that business unit adoption of public cloud computing isn't going to go away. Many, however, continue to implement internal clouds that are little more than warmed-over virtualization, with the expectation that once the internal offering is available, it will become the default choice of developers.
Next year will bring the recognition that developers have embraced public cloud computing because of its speed and agility. Enterprise IT groups will then comprehend that internal offerings have to meet the much higher expectations of developers-expectations raised by what they now recognize is possible. Internal IT groups will confront the reality that warmed-over virtualization isn't nearly enough-and getting to public levels of agility will require process streamlining and end-to-end automation. In a word, it will mean re-engineering, which is much more difficult than buying a new product with the expectation that it will magically make one's private cloud as attractive as the public alternatives.
Expect to see many, many articles next year on the organizational change necessary to successfully implement private cloud computing. If you're implementing a private cloud and haven't thought through how you're going to integrate end-to-end automation and remove process roadblock, you have a problem. A big problem.
3. The Public CSP Business Will See a Pricing Bloodbath