In 2012, cloud computing is set to become mainstream in Asia Pacific. Indeed, approximately 30% of APAC organizations will have adopted some form of cloud computing by 2012.

Clearly, decision makers in most Asian organizations, recognize the benefits of cloud computing, which are manifold. These benefits include the ability to offer greater business agility, cost reduction and a switch in IT spending from capital investment to operational expenditure. Basically, cloud computing is becoming critical as a means of gaining a competitive advantage for today’s organizations. It is now a strategic issue.

Against this background the market for public cloud computing is set to reach $5.8 billion by 2015, growing at a CAGR of 39% between 2010 and 2015.

In 2012, the impact of the shift to cloud computing will become apparent. One of the first obvious effects of this type of technology is the cloud-driven transformation of whole industries. The IT industry itself is being transformed by cloud computing as consumers and businesses depend, to a greater extent, on smartphones and tablets. Increasingly, data resides remotely in datacenters managed by third parties. This data is accessed by devices such as tablets and smartphones which require a comparatively small amount of data to reside locally.

Other industries such as the media industry are being transformed as media content is increasingly streamed from ‘personal clouds’ and the downloading of files becomes unnecessary. In addition to this, access to media content from physical sources such as books and DVDs is declining. Cloud computing is impacting all major industries.

The channel is also being transformed by cloud computing. Businesses can source IT functionality by using a web browser. In many cases, they can bypass the traditional channel. Channel players will need to re-focus their offerings to match the needs of organizations that are shifting their IT resources to the cloud, and away from the reselling of commoditized products and the provision of basic support services.

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is set to be the new battleground in the cloud computing industry as PaaS vendors seek to attract developers to their platforms. Today, Force.com has a huge advantage over other platforms as a result of its early entry into the market. However, over the last 18 months or so, new platforms have come online, supported by major vendors such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google and VMWare. Two or three platforms can be expected to dominate as a critical mass of applications is developed on each.

Cloud brokers will emerge en masse, as organizations seek partners that can customize cloud applications for them. These cloud brokers will typically affiliate themselves with a particular platform such as Force.com. In other words, many more applications will be available from the public cloud and these applications will be much more highly customized than most of today’s cloud applications. In turn, industry fragmentation will occur as many more Software- as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors emerge, many with industry-specific applications. Today’s SaaS offerings are predominantly horizontal.

Private clouds will typically appear in the form of internal clouds that replicate the offerings of Infrastructure-as-a-Service vendors. Many large organizations will engage in datacenter transformation projects or build new datacenters. These organizations will seek to offer internal business units access to IT resources and gain some of the benefits of public cloud services. Chargeback mechanisms will be built in, resources will be accessed via browsers and apps, and the benefits associated with scalability and rapid provisioning will be integrated. These internal clouds will have several of the key characteristics of public clouds.

In summary, cloud computing will have a profound impact on the way businesses operate. The cloud model will engender innovation as well as giving businesses an opportunity to enhance existing business processes, thus making themselves more competitive.