As the new year approaches, many people in the industry are wondering what’s next for cloud computing in the business world. It’s a conversation you hear in the halls at Dropbox nearly every day—and the striking thing is how many of the ideas you’ll hear are about the impact of the cloud on the way people work together. And this is exactly where I see the cloud going in 2016.
Cloud computing has been successful because it gives companies a better way to operate. It empowers us to be more flexible, and makes change easier. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the cloud move beyond simple file storage, and into more sophisticated business functions. As a result, our expectations for flexibility, collaboration, and functionality have grown—and I predict that 2016 is the year in which the cloud will really rise to the occasion. Here are some thoughts from Dropboxers about how this will all play out:
“Cloud storage isn’t just file access and backup. It’s about what that architecture enables: more complete functions like collaboration, workflow, and security. In 2016, we’ll really see a paradigm shift away from the solution stack towards an open network architecture.” — Rob Lai, Enterprise Account Executive
“I think the cloud’s power as a collaborative force is going to move to the forefront next year. Whether it’s adding collaborative features to formerly single-person workflows, or using APIs to bring siloed tools and services together, 2016 will be the year the cloud help unlocks group productivity.” — Sheila Vashee, Head of Corporate and Brand Marketing
“The cloud will continue to make it easier and easier for people to work together, as long as we give cloud services the right policies and permissions. The metadata these services create—data about files—is pretty powerful. It shows things like the network of people a file has been shared with or comments about content within the file. But in order for any of it to be actionable, it has to be made available to users through applications that are simple and easy to use.” — Aditya Agarwal, Head of Engineering
“The innovations we’ll see in the cloud for 2016 will have a big impact on education. I think more and more students are seeing the value of flexibility and collaboration in the tools they use, and how that value will translate to the 21st century workplace. Plus, the intersection of cloud and mobile is going to make education more accessible and ubiquitous, with online learning formats going even further beyond what we’re seeing now.” — Jason Katcher, Head of Education
“Data isn’t just for users—data being exchanged between apps is also having a huge impact on the way we do things. The price of raw computing continues to go down, while the number of devices we’re using is multiplying. This means that more and more data is making it into the cloud, and is available for learning systems that drive things like e-commerce recommendations and real-time analytics. From a business perspective, these learning systems have the potential to change a lot about how companies interact with their customers, and how they get work done internally.” — Will Zhou, Enterprise Insights Lead
As you can see, everyone here at Dropbox has big ideas for this coming year. We can’t wait to see what happens, and help drive the future of collaboration for our customers. Have a great holiday season, and we’ll see you in 2016.