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17 Nov 2023

A cloud professional’s cloud predictions for 2024

A cloud professional’s cloud predictions for 2024
It’s that time of year when the PR people are after me to listen to their client’s predictions for next year. It’s always obvious and uninteresting stuff, but they keep trying.

Remember that I’m not necessarily happy with the forecast of my own predictions. I’m not promoting anything in particular, to the surprise of some people. I find it interesting that security company executives never say that cloud security will likely be less of a problem next year—that prediction is not in their self-interest. That’s not the case with me.

Generative AI will need optimized cloud platforms

First, we’re wholly underoptimized regarding our use of cloud resources now. We pushed applications and data into public clouds without refactoring or other optimization procedures. This “lift and shift and hope for the best” approach has resulted in colossal cloud bills that can’t continue. Enterprises need to take steps in 2024 to fix this.

Second, generative AI is getting most of the attention in the cloud space. As I stated before, cloud conferences are now generative AI conferences as cloud providers see a huge windfall in cloud services to support net-new generative AI systems. Generative AI systems need an enormous number of resources compared to other stuff.

The problem is that we can make the same mistakes we did with lift-and-shift, putting generative AI systems into production that are hugely underoptimized and cost too much. If we need to run the existing applications in the cloud and want to take advantage of generative AI as a business force multiplier, optimization and planning need to be on the 2024 to-do list. This also means putting on-premises systems back on the menu, considering their value is becoming compelling with the recent price reductions of hardware.

Companies must own the talent supply chain

Enterprises are frustrated that they can’t find the talent to build and deploy cloud-based systems quickly. This is compounded by the move to generative AI systems, which require AI and data scientists; the supply of talent limits the perfect storm of innovation.

Businesses can do a few things. Many will complain about how the colleges and universities are not providing enough talented people. Or they might take matters into their own hands, creating their supply to meet their demand by focusing on training and creative recruiting efforts, such as providing compensated training for existing employees but also doing innovative things such as hiring for usually ignored demographics. Examples include training and hiring veterans, training those looking for a career change, and actively recruiting people who have taken decades off to raise a family.

The enterprises that solve the talent problem will end up with the most innovative tech, allowing them to disrupt their market space. Most of this will occur behind the scenes in 2024, but at the end of the day, it’s a competitive differentiator.

Business will drive cloud innovation

I’m sure some eyes are rolling but stick with me. I understand that business should drive computing, but IT has traditionally been the driver, using business requirements as a path to build and deploy IT systems.

It’s true that IT serves the business. But in a lot of cases, IT essentially has done what they wanted. Sometimes it aligns with the company’s desires; sometimes not so much. This could be changing for many enterprises in 2024.

As IT becomes more critical, in many cases becoming the business itself, the control of IT, including what’s built and deployed, will fall more on the company itself. The CEO, CFO, and board of directors will take a more active role in controlling how IT serves the business, including managing the day-to-day.

CIOs and CTOs will be more tightly coupled with the business, including cloud development, innovations, and operations. It won’t always be the case that the CIO and other IT executives make the calls of what gets built and deployed—and the technology to develop and deploy these systems. The business leaders will be more actively involved, influencing and controlling many of those decisions.

I’m sure that many of you are not happy to hear that. After all, IT has the experts who know what works and what does not; if you have non-technical types making technical calls, that is when things go wrong. I don’t think that mistake will likely be made. IT experts will still implement cloud computing architecture, development, and deployment. What will change is that the company will become more involved considering IT’s new importance to the business. IT is no longer just an expense, as it has been for many enterprises.

I suppose you’ve noticed that my predictions are not very technology-focused this year. I didn’t talk about how cloud-native architecture will continue to grow or how the construction of large language models will evolve. Those are all interesting topics worth tracking. However, the macro problems I’ve named here are much more complex and provide more value. Technology always will work. You can consider that a prediction as well.

Happy 2024.


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