Cloud computing will give a larger group of companies the ability to automate at a serious level and therefore become able to further professionalize. Apart from the real mainstream cloud solutions such as email handling and social media, more and more will become possible by using combinations of online customer relationship management and collaboration and productivity environments suchs as Microsoft’s CRM, SharePoint and Lync. These products can provide excellent composite functionalities that can be hosted in the cloud very easily and companies can also gain their biggest cloud advantages there because of the ability of universal access and the virtually unlimited scalability.
For the larger enterprises the Cloud primarily provides the means to integrate a vast number of smaller customers and suppliers in a very scalable and standardized way into their supply and demand chains. By connecting the internal business processes (behind the firewall) with the Integration Services in the Cloud (for example through Windows Azure AppFAbric) the smaller parties can be connected to these business processes in a standardized and secure way.
I don’t see the larger enterprises hosting their core processes in the Cloud in the foreseeable future. Rather, private cloud solutions will probably be used here, using the same technology but run by the company’s own people and in its own environment. Private clouds are less (quickly) scalable, but much more secure.
My vision is that the trend for the near future with regard to Cloud Computing will be that smaller and medium-sized companies are really going to use it as an integral part of their total set of IT solutions and thereby lessening the maintenance burden for the more standard solutions. By doing that they can focus more on tailormade solutions and really innovate there in order to set themselves apart from the competitors and become leaders in their business!