Putting global conflicts and the economy aside I have a feeling that 2012 will be the year when we see cloud computing hits its stride and enter mainstream business practices. The last two years have seen periods of awareness but hesitancy; the next 12 months I believe will see small to medium sized businesses either putting a toe into the water or dive headlong into the cloud.

Cloud An Excellent Tool

Laura Yecies, CEO at SugarSync writes in her personal blog, The Kitchen Sync: “My “aha” moment was last week. I was invited to be on two local TV shows – one here in San Francisco, one in Phoenix. For both the topic was basically about organising your digital life using the cloud. This is the time of year for New Years resolutions about getting organised so timing is perfect for that topic. The reality is that the cloud is an excellent tool to help people get organized (more on that in another post).

“But back to the “aha” – it occurred last week when I was in the studio for the filming. It was the 3:00 show 7Live hosted by Brian Copeland. Here’s how they describe themselves. “We take an unconventional look at the news that has people talking including tech, pop culture, entertainment and politics.” The topics that preceded me were Iowa Caucus results, marriage proposal on the jumbotron at the UCLA game, and a dating service. I was followed by a live a cappella group.

“Watching all of this in the studio it hit me that others are seeing the cloud not just for the tech nerds (like me) but for them including the most non tech nerd daytime TV demographic. It was great to hear my non-techie friends that tuned in react to the show. They are going to try it. After all – they have the key ingredients – devices and data.”

Cooperate And Integrate

That’s Laura’s take on the coming 12 months so how do I see cloud services and infrastructures pushing ahead this year?

I’d like to issue a clarion call to everyone involved at all levels of cloud development to look at collaboration rather than conflict, to look at how they can co-operate and integrate, to pull together rather than pull each other apart. I want to see a time of strategic alliances; hardware companies working with each other and forming relationships with the key software and service providers.

Look back at historic rivalries. Microsoft versus Apple versus Google versus whoever. Look at the patent legal actions going on around the world as each manufacturer tries to sue the ass of each other in attempt to snaffle a bit more marketshare. I have this vision in my head of what Apple and Microsoft could have achieved by creating a joint cloud platform but I guess that’s the problem with being an old hippy who slips back into moments of Utopian daydreaming!

End User=Loser

All this legal crapfighting leaves the most important person as the loser – the end user. You and me end up paying for the legal vultures who thrive on rich pickings – just how much does it all put on the shop price of an iPhone or Android device?

The small business owner who wants to go cloudside looks at what is out there and is confused as hell and will probably end up delaying that vital decision which affects his bottom line and stops vital currency entering the bank accounts of cloud service and hardware providers and limits the amount of cash for development.

So what the hell are you waiting for. Pick up that phone, start digging through that email address book or think about having a hangout on Google+ Me? I’m just going to sit crossed legged with the I Ching and see what the yarrow stalks have to tell me!