Regulated industries like finance and healthcare may have much to gain from an IaaS cloud that can support highly targeted vertical services. There may be increased deployment of enterprise resource planning applications as these organizations seek to extract more value from their private clouds and supplement their existing CRM solutions. Going forward, the maturation of the PaaS market should make such additional development easier than it was in fragmented environments.

ERP driving SaaS adoption
On-premise IT infrastructure remains common, underscoring the opportunity that enterprise-class cloud computing providers have to supply organizations with finely tuned and reliable private cloud stacks. According to an InformationWeek survey summarized by contributor Doug Henschen, enterprise adoption of SaaS is steadily increasing, with nearly half of companies now utilizing cloud-based application delivery, up from only 38 percent the previous year.

ERP deployment in particular is a prime SaaS growth opportunity, with 19 percent of the 312 respondents stating that they would roll-out a solution over the next two years. Currently, CRMs and collaborative software like company social networks constitute the bulk of SaaS usage.

Vertical becoming the norm
For organizations with strict compliance regulations, vertical solutions are quickly becoming essential. Developers with security expertise who can create carefully tailored stacks are driving the cloud services industry away from its heretofore predominantly horizontal approach, observed VentureBeat's Rebecca Grant in her roundup of cloud venture capital trends.

"The cloud has enabled a new breed of vertical industry cloud solutions that are capital efficient and can really meet the needs of customers in a specific industry," Emergence Capital's Sean Jacobsohn told Grant. "As opposed to horizontal solutions … vertical solutions can become the industry standard and expand by selling more solutions to the same buyer."

However, the sheer quantity and complexity of data that many enterprise clouds handle will require a combination of scalable infrastructure, productive development tools and new analytics. PaaS and big data applications are still in the early stages of their development cycles, but the time may be approaching for more widespread enterprise adoption.

"There is a natural progression over time as data platforms mature," Accel Partners executive Jake Flomenberg told Grant. "The first thing is arming the more technical folks, and later you see more targeting of business users."

SaaS appears to have been the cloud entry point for many organizations, and companies are now seeking to move additional portions of their infrastructure to the cloud via PaaS.