5 (more) technologies that CIOs can’t ignore in 2017/2018

EducationSummary: As technology evolves, it plays an increasingly important role on the business world. More than ever, the modern CIO must stay ahead of the ever-changing technology curve, and understand how new technologies might affect their business. What technologies could have the biggest impact on the business world in the coming year? In this article, we explore a few more technologies that the modern CIO cannot afford to ignore.

photo credit: nvokicka via pixabay cc

photo credit: nvokicka via pixabay cc

We’re living in a time of rapid technological change. We’re seeing new technologies emerge that will change how many companies (and even industries) operate.

What technologies will have the biggest impact on business in the coming year? In the first part of this article, we explored these 5:

  • AI
  • Kubernetes
  • IOT
  • Blockchain
  • Stream data processing

Today, let’s wrap things up with a few more. Here are 5 more technologies that CIO cannot afford to ignore in the coming year:

1. Fog/Edge Computing

photo credit: FutUndBeidl via photopin cc

photo credit: FutUndBeidl via photopin cc

Cloud computing has changed how we store and access data. It has changed the way many businesses operate, and will continue to play an important role in the coming years.

However, cloud computing has some limitations. Namely, it relies on a fast internet connection. This becomes even more important as more data moves to the cloud, and businesses demand faster access. Sooner or later, this limitation will cap the cloud’s capabilities.

This is driving a new technology that aims to bypass the speed hurdle: Fog computing. I won’t get into all of the details here, but here’s a nice article that explains it in more detail. In the coming years, Fog/Edge computing is a technology that you can’t afford to ignore.

“No list of technologies to watch in 2018 would be complete without citing Fog Computing, also known as Edge computing – a new computing architecture in which data, compute services, storage services, data and applications are distributed in the most logical, efficient place between the data source and the cloud, instead of simply having one or two massive cloud locations around the world,” says Kevin Liebl, VP of Marketing, Zadara Storage. “As IoT, autonomous devices, data capture and sensing use cases explode, there’s growing recognition that neither of today’s dominant enterprise IT architectures –on-premises and cloud computing – are a fit for applications that require low-latency processing and storage, which simply can’t be done across vast distances. Edge computing keeps data closer to the devices that act on it, and so it’s perfect for IoT driven applications such as smart cities, autonomous factories, smart retail and so forth, where IoT devices will inject data continuously to the cloud, and software will need to make decisions or take action on the data at low latency.”

While this may seem like an “everything old is new again” development, just another architectural ebb and flow between centralized and decentralized computing, fog computing actually complements the cloud and relies on it, not replaces it. It’s like having a lot of small, local private clouds with their processing and storage resources located near devices to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent to far-away cloud locations for centralized, aggregated processing.”

2. Machine Learning

By now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of machine learning. In short, it gives computers the ability to learn without being programmed.

In theory, the benefits of this technology are staggering. Machines can perform complex tasks and predict future results. This will change how businesses operate and revolutionize entire industries.

However, the technology has been around for awhile now. Why am I including it on this list? Up until recently, the barrier to entry was too high for most. You needed the best talent and technology to even scratch the surface. But, recent advancements are making machine learning more accessible. As access improves, its impact will grow dramatically.

“Machine Learning (ML) and the wider Artificial Intelligence (AI) field have been talked about for many years, but until now they have largely only been used by elite companies with large R&D teams, full of PhDs, and with access to large amounts of computing power,” says Nic Grange, CTO at Retriever Communications. “While the cloud has largely leveled the playing field in terms of computing power, the skills and knowledge required are still beyond most companies. Recent efforts by some of the biggest technology providers like Amazon, Google, IBM have made some of these capabilities available to the mainstream. I see this trend accelerating into 2018 when businesses of any size can more easily adopt ML/AI. Most of the services are quite raw at the moment but in time they will become much more robust and easier to integrate. Businesses can start incorporating these services into their applications for their specific use cases and really start to differentiate themselves from their competitors. While ML/AI is available to all, adoption is still likely to be slow so the businesses that take advantage of them first will have the biggest impact on their industries.”

3. Risk quantification technologies

photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay cc

photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay cc

I didn’t include a “security” section in this article, as it’s been a can’t-ignore technology for a few years now. After all, security breaches are on the rise. In 2016, reported data breaches increased by 40%. That number is expected to grow in 2017.

However, there is one aspect of security technology that’s gaining steam recently: Risk quantification technologies.

Think about it. The implications of a data breach are massive. From negative publicity to financial losses, a cyber breach can disrupt a business. One study found that the average cost of cyber breach is $3.6 million.

Does every incident reach that mark? Of course not. Some may have little to no impact at all. Others can bankrupt a business. That’s why risk quantification is becoming so important. As explained below, you need to understand the risks of a security breach for your company, and take appropriate steps to mitigate those risks.

“With #WannaCry and other forms or advanced malware, every enterprise is under attack and defenses are porous,” says Ashwin Krishnan, Senior Vice President of Products and Strategy at HyTrust. “Which means that enterprises really have to invest in understanding the risk – both from external and internal sources – and be able to quantify that under three categories – risk of a compliance breach, risk of a cyber security incident, cost of cyber insurance. And choose the appropriate solution based on the risk appetite and ignoring the fear vendors are spreading – doing nothing may be a perfectly valid response if the cost of cyber insurance is too high and my comparison a compliance breach or cyber security incident exposure and cost is deemed low!”

4. Microservices

I remember back when business applications were built using a monolithic approach–where every feature was baked into the application. These days, that’s no longer the case.

Over the past few years, microservices has quickly turned into the preferred method for software development. Now, this isn’t a new trend. But, it’s essential for those who want to take advantage of many new technologies, like AI and IoT.

What does it mean? As explained in this article, “the microservice architectural style is an approach to developing a single application as a suite of small services, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API.”

In other words, rather than building every feature directly into the application (the monolithic approach), the microservice approach creates applications from many smaller services. As explained below, microservices are absolutely essential for those companies who hope to capitalize on new technology.

“Microservices has been a constant topic of conversation since the term was first coined in 2011,” says Mighael Botha, CTO for North America for Software AG. “There has been a slow adoption, but microservices have now gone mainstream and no CIO should think about creating new Smart Applications or modernizing their existing applications without exploring a microservices architecture first. With microservices, large monolithic applications are broken into independent highly scalable services that run as separate processes. A microservices architecture is absolutely essential for creating agile scalable applications for the 21st Century. I don’t think organizations exploring areas like IoT, AI and Smart Applications can adopt those disciplines without a solid microservices architecture driven with APIs and enterprise grade messaging. Microservices help drive reduced TCO and improved ROI across the entire enterprise especially if organizations embrace a DevOps culture to advance their CI and CD capabilities.”

5. Productivity-enhancing technologies

photo credit: ClkerFreeVectorImages via pixabay cc

photo credit: ClkerFreeVectorImages via pixabay cc

The modern IT department is under more pressure than ever before. They must move quickly. They must shift from a back-office role into a technology driver. They must become a true business partner.

The problem: Most IT departments are already overworked and understaffed. They’d love to move quickly, but they’re constantly putting out fires. They’d love to become a technology driver, but maintaining existing technology and supporting the business keeps them busy already. What’s worse, many have developed a slow-moving reputation.

As IT plays a larger role in the business, they must break free of this stigma. They must take advantage of technologies that drive speed and agility.

“I believe that in 2018 IT Leaders, globally, will have to take a closer look on technologies that speed up their day to day department operations,” says Rodrigo Montagner, an IT Executive. “Regardless the cloud, the actual speed of a typical IT Departments (and typical businesses) is used to definitely needs to change for better and faster.”

“In this verge I would like to mention two types of technologies: the mobile based collaboration ones and the messaging/chatting ones. Without making any advertisement or mentioning products, the collaboration tools, the ones that really allows an instantaneous, fast and light communication, in order to expedite and enhance the IT Operations’ capabilities, will be the ones the Cio’s must have on the searchlight for testing with their teams. It can expedite the overall global support from hours to seconds, without losing traceability and quality.

Now, these technologies help the IT department improve communication and operate more efficiently. But, I would take it a step further and include self-service technologies that help IT teams offload some of their tasks.

While this applies to many areas of the business, here’s one example: In many businesses, the IT department is still in charge of reporting. All reporting requests run through them, and users often wait days for the reports they need.

However, these days, there’s no need for this bottleneck. Self-service analytics technology has improved to the point where end users can easily use it on their own. Businesses that aren’t capitalizing on this technology are only hurting their productivity.

That’s just one example, but the point is this: Going forward, CIOs must find ways to offload whatever tasks they can to end users. This not only improves productivity, it frees up the IT department for mission-critical tasks.

Summary

These are just 5 technologies that you can’t afford to ignore in 2017 and 2018. If you would like to add anything to this list, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to share in the comments.

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