Whether you’re a seasoned CTO or rookie IT Manager, unless you’ve been living in the woods, you’re likely well aware of the ubiquitous emergence of cloud computing and the disruption it is causing the IT industry.

As the growth of cloud shows no sign of slowing any time soon, it is increasingly becoming evident that we are sitting on the precipice of an IT revolution. As we are now a month into 2014, I thought it prudent to take a look at some of the specific trends revealing themselves this year.

1. The Cloud Will Be the New Hardware Archetype

Every major IT paradigm shift can be attributed to the development of novel and diverse computational platforms. As for cloud, we will witness the uniform virtualization of enterprise data and seamless integration of business operations. This will allow the entire elimination of many traditional IT infrastructure maintenance costs, with the corresponding savings being added to businesses’ bottom lines.

2. Adoption of Better CRM Solutions

We’ve written previously about the need to shift accounting and ERP practices to the cloud, but cloud solutions should not be reserved only for these record-based systems. In fact, they can also supercharge businesses that utilize them to enhance their customer engagement. When highly flexible cloud database solutions are married with efficient big data analysis tools, incredibly powerful consumer insights can come into focus. These will enable the optimization of marketing campaigns in real-time, and allow the crafting of customer experiences that are unforgettable.

3. Evolution of Big Data Continues

Big data’s value to your business does not in itself lie in the total volume of aggregated data, but how well analytic engines harvest valuable business insight from that data. With continued fine-tuning of data analytics’ systems it is now possible to derive real-time insights from your business operations. These insights can enable everything from the improvement of product design to the elimination of inefficient redundancies.

4. Get Comfortable with JavaScript

The growth mobile device usage in and out of the workplace means it is more and more imperative for organizations to strive for a singular code base, one that runs flawlessly on any browser. The current best practice is for businesses to develop JavaScript/HTML5 apps. An incredibly flexible JavaScript network and cross-platform mobile development platform allows for the seamless conversion of JavaScript coded apps to device native apps. This will continue into 2014 and (in my opinion) well beyond.

5. Stronger Identity Management Protocols

Cloud vendors have the cumbersome task of optimizing the security of their platforms for both on-premise and SaaS (Software as a Service) applications. This is no truer than in the identity management area. The sanctioning or denial of access to specific employees and partners is a vital security concern that must be adequately addressed by all cloud providers. Those with superior cloud identity management solutions will thus be on the rise.

6. The Rise of PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Once the cloud infrastructure is diversified further and more applications are perfected, an increasing number of enterprises will shed their inhibitions of operating on platforms not wholly owned by them. As complex web and mobile apps become the norm be prepared to see more companies opting for custom PaaS solutions built for their specific industry.

7. Customized Memory Solutions

Memory requirement is a highly relative concept that varies according to the scale and operation area of a business. Multiple vendors now offer compelling cost-efficient memory upgrade solutions to both software and hardware systems. Enterprises can presently enhance their in-memory standards to improve their data analytics engine as a software solution, or as a hardware solution utilize flash memory to drastically cut down the total number of server side reads and writes required, improving overall speeds and minimizing the costly replacement of hard drives.

There you have it. Seven cloud computing trends in 2014 and beyond. What trends do you see likely?