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Cloud 2015: What can we expect?

Take a look at the most popular content in 2014 to figure out what to expect in cloud 2015.

Looking ahead in 2015, SearchCloudApplications takes a look back at what readers were interested in throughout the past year. In the vast amount of cloud application coverage, it isn't surprising that platform as a service (PaaS) ranked as our most popularly viewed topic. Other popular topics include mobile, cloud-based HR systems, IBM and, of course, cloud applications. Let's see if taking a look back helps to sort out what we can expect for cloud 2015.

No. 1: PaaS

It is no longer questionable whether PaaS will become as popular as its sister services SaaS and IaaS. 2014 proved that it has, though "people are sitting back and waiting for PaaS to become the biggest of the three," said John Rymer, vice president and principal analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research. "Forget it. All of these categories are growing because cloud is on the rise. Rising tides float all boats."

The year's most popular piece of content focused on private PaaS, the confusion that lay around it and the differences between it and public PaaS. So, in some ways PaaS is giving IaaS and SaaS a run for their money in its growth in popularity in the past year. Experts don't see the delivery model going anywhere in 2015, either. "We are going to see much broader enterprise adoption of PaaS technologies, but a lot of it will start with containers like Docker in private cloud," said Al Hilwa, program director at IDC. According to Hilwa, the industry will start to look toward containers in 2015 to bring both new and legacy applications into the cloud world.

No. 2: Cloud's future

Ours wouldn't be a very good cloud applications website if its popular coverage didn't include an Essential Guide on the future of cloud applications. Good news is that our second-most-viewed page was just that, a page devoted to all cloud application expectations for 2014.

In a 2013 piece included in the guide, contributor Tom Nolle wrote, "Today's notions of IaaS and PaaS and SaaS, of hybrid and public and private, are evolutionary factors inhibiting the cloud revolution … It's just a matter of where the cheapest place to put it might be." Strategies may have advanced, but the thinking seems to remain the same. "Enterprise architects and software developers need to think about how to weave the cloud into their existing enterprise applications framework. Hybrid cloud strategies are the bridge between where organizations are today and where they are going with their enterprise applications tomorrow," said Paul Turner, VP of product marketing at Adaptive Insights, on what to look for in 2015.

No. 3: Watson

Remember Watson from Jeopardy? The one and only supercomputer robot contestant who competed on the show made headlines in 2011. And he did so again in 2014, as the subject of SearchCloudApplications' third most popular piece of content.

Expert contributor George Lawton discussed how Watson is even more relevant in the present day. "Jeopardy demonstrated something we had never seen a computer do, which is navigating the complexity of the human language," said Steve Gold, vice president of the IBM Watson Group. Using a computer system that can basically understand human language and text can revolutionize Internet applications.

IBM announced three new programs, including IBM Watson Discovery Advisor, IBM Watson Analytics, and IBM Watson Explorer, and named a few companies that are considered early adopters. Most notable was the focus on the future of Watson-like systems. "Within five years, organizations should be able to ask a mobile device natural-language questions and expect a direct answer -- or a result that leads to direct action or triggers action in an interactive dialogue," said Jamie Popkin, a Gartner Inc. vice president.

What to expect in cloud 2015

In 2015, continue to expect mobile-first development approaches to applications. The rise in mobile and cloud apps isn't expected to end soon, so development approaches are set to become easier for both businesses and users.

Making improvements business-wide won't include only the IT side. Cloud HR systems focused this past year on getting rid of older systems by moving towards 21st century functionalities. What does this mean for companies? They spend money on updates to save on personnel, data integration programs, time management, ROI and mobile development concerns.

What do you expect for cloud applications in 2015? Let us know.

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