I was part of discussion by a few individuals about the long term prospects of Cloud. They were looking at it from primarily a public/private storage (data) or IaaS perspective. My view was that this is really just the tip of the cloud iceberg. Neither shared data nor shared compute in their most basic forms add that much value, although it certainly does cut costs.
I’ve mentioned before that people don’t make decisions off data – however, they may use it to justify their emotional decisions. Data is just too raw for decision making. It has to be turned into something that an individual’s mind can use. I do believe that cloud techniques can enable more diverse data sources to be used in the process of making decisions.
I believe there will always be a place for both public and private computing and storage from a security and resource usage perspective. The integration of information to generate value will be a high margin, high impact area. I am not sure if you'd call that applications but at least from my view raw data and raw computing are not an end goal, just an enabler. It is what we can do with these resources to convert these components into decisions that make the difference. Having an overall cloud architecture that defines the business and technical objectives is key to making that happen.