1. Hybrid is the new black – and we’re not talking cars. The amorphous cloud has certainly laid its claim to our hearts and minds, but enterprises aren’t going to just jump ship. Like the hybrid car strategy of marrying the known with the new, enterprises will adopt hybrid clouds that maintain the benefits of traditional servers with the accessibility of public cloud.

2. Tablet, meet the other Jobs – the ones we go to everyday. 2012 is going to be all about how those slick devices we already use to read the news and watch movies will shift to become real business tools. And guess what, it’s going to be executives, who, by the way love them, who will drive their use in the workplace. When the person in charge sees how useful something can be, they’ll make sure it gets accepted.

3. Offshoring is out, on-shoring is in – because the right people to do the job are often right here in the United States. With cloud commuting on the rise, employers are going to realize they can on-shore jobs in Iowa or Idaho instead of looking to India or Ireland. Pay an engineer the local wage, leave them at home, give them access to the tools of a cloud commuter and it’s just like they’re working from the corporate office.

4. Freemium isn’t really free – because while the end user might not pay, there are enormous costs for businesses who have to support the patchwork of mediocre products designed only to solve one person’s problem, not solve an organizational problem. Not to mention the fact that it isn’t a sustainable business model – designed only to pump up the numbers and give the appearance of size. Didn’t we learn from the first dot com bubble?

5. Cloud commuting…we dropped the “p” – because today’s office doesn’t have to be 4 walls and a water cooler. In fact, the cloud lets you sit in meetings, take calls, and read endless email strings you’ve been cc’d on just like you’re in your cube. Between cheaper tablets / mobile devices, better productivity apps, easy internet access and acceptance of the cloud as a part of the corporate infrastructure, employers and employees can save corporations time, money and resources, with the added bonus of saving the world by staying off the roads.

Cloud acceptance is driving a push to mature the technologies and companies involved. From creating business models that don’t push free products to developing the way companies use the cloud to enable better and smarter ways to work, 2012 will be a banner year for showing how technology can improve the workplace.

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