As ever the last day of the year is a time of reflection and planning. We look back at the year just gone and ahead to the year to come.

If this were TV the year-end review would be a tedious line-up of desperate celebrities introducing footage culled from the programmes we watched and news reported throughout the year. Since this is a blog we will have to leave the flickering review to your imagination and just get to the point: another year, another significant advance for cloud computing.

Unsurprisingly cloud adoption is increasing. The story is barely even news now. Greater revenues and bigger opportunities often predicated by an industry survey or sweeping outline from Gartner has marked the last 3 years. The facts make plain reading. From the tech giants to the MSPs cloud services have grown year on year – even at the cusp of austerity and slowed, global economic prospects.

Businesses everywhere have begun to realise the benefits of mixing IT provision – hosted applications, online storage, centrally managed resources (end-point managed devices) and data – through connected, cloud-based services. Having a bunch of boxes networked on-site just doesn’t make sense as businesses are more mobile and operate as much out on the road as they do in the office. Cloud computing has made incredible steps toward ubiquity. It has become more useful and essential to businesses.

Future gazing now, next year is going to be more about Big Data. Our obsession with defining these connected, distributed services under the banner of cloud will diminish. Instead we will look more at the individual benefits of those services that have risen out of our great push to cloud computing.

Aggregating data, comparing an ever-increasing sample of inputs, is going to offer more insights than perhaps we are ready to understand. 2015 will be Big Data’s year.

In some respects Big Data has already arrived. 2014 already showed us the advancing future. This year we began to access services and data using natural language – transforming our use and understanding of technology to make it more useful and easier to understand. Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana have each demonstrated importance of this new approach. And IBM’s Watson Analytics suggests the beginning of what is (and could be) possible in the coming months.

From customer insight to medical application and financial comparisons Big Data can help us redefine and better understand the complexity of our ever-connected world. Our access to this information will be enabled by the cloud framework we have already invested in, and no doubt stored on a mix of private and public (hybrid) cloud networks and secure storage, but the real story will be data, data, data.

Happy New Year everyone.

In a digital career than spans the first dot-com boom to the mobile app explosion and current cloud developments Stephen has been following technology since the first hyperlink. Stephen has been published Create Online, Enterprise Cloud & Virtualization (ECV), Mac User, Precision Marketing, PR Week, Technology Weekly and .NET magazine.

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