Presently ArcGIS Online for Organizations seems to be two (quite nice) things:
1) A way to generate hosted services (bravo)
2) A collaboration platform
But some chief missing Cloud benefits are as follows:
- The ability to send large analysis workloads to the Cloud and obtain a result. Please see Charles Babcock's Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution and other texts for examples of how powerful, revolutionary, and evolutionary this could be applied to the GIS domain.
- The ability to run ArcGIS Desktop in the Cloud without "...the burden of software; no software... no software"--the quoted text is from a prematurely exuberant Jack Dangermond during the 2012 Federal UC Plenary. The burden of software indeed. This is reminiscent of statements from visionaries such as Marc Benioff of SalesForce.com. But only remotely so. The dream is only partially realized.
ArcGIS Online Beta / v1.0 looks like an interesting first step toward a true Cloud GIS Platform. But it is a baby step.
At a recent demo of ArcGIS Online I rapidly lost interest when I saw what was missing. Hope to see this technology mature in 2013 and beyond. One can only hope we'll see more rapid progress toward a complete Cloud GIS Platform. German director Werner Herzog once said, in a documentary entitled The Burden of Dreams, about an ambitious but failing project film Fitzcarraldo that he had to endure. Because if it he did not he would be "... a man without dreams. And I don't want to live that way." Here's hoping Esri's Cloud Dream is realized. Looks like a long way to go from ArcGIS Online beta / v1.0. But Further Work should be encouraged.