Tracking the public cloud market can be dizzying. Even for organizations all-in on a single cloud, the constant rollout of new services, build-outs of new data centers, and the introduction of varied compute instance types can be overwhelming. To gain perspective, technology leaders have to step off the service adoption treadmill and consider the wider world of cloud computing.

For our 2023 cloud predictions, Forrester analysts from across the globe compared insights derived from engagements with clients and service providers as well as our observations on the economic and geopolitical trends that shape technology. When we look ahead to 2023, there’s no crystal ball involved. We debate, debate some more, and collectively make projections about developments that we believe will define cloud computing in 2023 and impact our clients the most.

Each of our predictions focuses on key issues that organizations need to plan and prepare for the coming year. From European financial services companies’ growing demand for cloud with data sovereignty to cloud providers’ coming big moves in security to a possible economic downturn and geopolitical instability. Here’s a sample of the predictions we’ve included in this year’s report:

  • Cloud-native technologies will continue to attract investment. Pullbacks in slated infrastructure investment is often the first organizational response to an economic downturn. A restaurant chain might shelve plans to open up in a new city; a manufacturer might hold off on breaking ground on a new factory. We think cloud-native technology will buck that trend. While virtual machine technology boosted the productivity of the traditional data center, cloud-native technologies such as Kubernetes and containers and various iterations of serverless technologies now span the public cloud and data center alike. The benefit: better utilization of IT resources and faster application development and deployment at scale. Add 5G and emerging edge technologies into the mix, and there is plenty of incentive for enterprise-class organizations to move forward with tech modernization based on cloud-native infrastructure.
  • Cloud cost containment will be top priority. Tech leaders will get the green light to keep spending on cloud-native technologies, but they must be prepared to demonstrate to the CFO that they remain on budget and show ROI at the board level. The built-in cost management tools offered by the cloud providers may be a reasonable starting point, but they won’t address the growing pressure from the C-suite for a vendor-neutral approach to cloud cost management and optimization. Our prediction focuses on the prospects for third-party providers to meet those needs.
  • Google will make a major acquisition to boost cloud market share. Call it the Kubernetes conundrum: Google’s internal container orchestration code laid the basis for the open source Kubernetes project and related efforts that are the basis for cloud-native transformation. Yet Google Cloud Platform (GCP) — despite some high-profile, partnership-style enterprise accounts — remains well behind rivals AWS and Microsoft. An incremental, customer-by-customer approach to win accounts won’t make up for AWS’s early lead in cloud or Microsoft’s decades-long presence in the enterprise. That’s why we predict Google will buy its way into wider enterprise adoption for GCP by snapping up an established technology service provider with broad enterprise presence.

Read our full 2023 cloud Predictions report to get more detail about each of these predictions, plus two more bonus predictions. Set up a Forrester guidance session to discuss these predictions or plan out your 2023 cloud computing strategy.

If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2023. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2023 hub.