What does the future hold for technology in 2012?  Not surprising, but many of the predictions involve the continued movement to the cloud.  Randy Muller of Global Knowledge predicts the cloud movement will be "THE mantra this year and will certainly be more pervasive and louder in the years to come," and that "that SaaS (Software as a Service) is the wave of the future."  This means no longer will businesses and consumers purchase copies of software to install on their servers or personal computers. 

It also means that businesses and consumers will have to become more familiar with service level agreements and how these agreements differ from traditional software licenses.  It will also require businesses and consumers to understand how to work with cloud providers and structure their relationships.  I have posted several times on the differences these cloud relationships have to the traditional relationships with software developers. 

One thing end users of cloud computing services need to become more comfortable with is negotiating fair and balanced agreements.  End users need to have the resolve to walk away from a cloud provider if that provider is unwilling to negotiate the terms of a service level agreement.  Unfortunately, given the low price of most cloud computing services, this is the only leverage an end user has.  But being pressured into an agreement is usually a red flag and an early indication of what any future dealings with the cloud provider will be like.  But like negotiating the price of a car, there will be another cloud provider that will be willing to accommodate your concerns.