Summary: Evolving technology and growing data volumes bring major changes to the IT department. In this era, the IT department moves from a “keep-the-lights-on” mentality into a true business driver. What trends are driving this change, and how must your IT department adapt? In the second part of our two-part article on IT trends, we examine 5 more trends to watch in the near future.
The role of the IT department is changing. Driven by growing data and evolving technology, IT departments shift from a back-office function into a key business partner.
To be effective in this role, the IT department must drive technology innovation. It must help the business capitalize on their data. It must stay ahead of ever-changing technology.
How is technology changing? How do these changes impact the IT department? In the first part of this article, we explored these 5 important trends, and how they impact the IT department:
- Connected “things” drive a data explosion
- “Big Data” takes a backseat to “Fast Data”
- Automation takes center stage
- Security commoditization creates more attacks
- Speed that enterprises adopt the cloud significantly accelerates
But, those trends are just the tip of the iceberg. Today, let’s go a step further. What other trends can we expect in the near future? Here are 5 more important IT trends to watch for in 2016 and beyond:
1. Governance and self-service collide
In the past, the IT department governed technology and data access. They controlled which software made its way into the business, and who had access to that software. They were in charge of delivering new solutions to the business.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the pendulum swing in the opposite direction. Self-service tools have exploded in the business world. More and more, business units purchase and use software on their own–behind the IT department’s back.
The problem is, this creates security risks. If employees (or entire departments) purchase and use third-party solutions, IT has no way of managing and securing that data.
Both the IT departments and the business leaders are realizing that neither option is good. The business can’t go back to waiting on IT for all technology needs, yet they can’t bypass IT altogether.
What’s the answer? In the near future, we’ll see these two options merge into a controlled self-service approach.
“Cloud spending is on the rise and shadow IT is a key contributor,” says Deirdre Mahon, CMO at Cloud Cruiser. “Tech professionals don’t want to be the “cloud cops” policing every use-case and expenditure. However, they do want access to the usage information and to be able to show relevant metrics back to the business in order to see exactly what services are being consumed, keeping all informed every step of the way. Having full transparency and accountability drives future behavior and becomes a win-win, not only for business but also IT, who hold responsibility for governance. Think of it like spending against a checking account but never seeing a balance statement.”
2. IoT changes application development
For those companies who still haven’t adapted their applications to mobile, I have some bad news. It’s about to get much more difficult.
We’re facing an ever-growing number of devices. From wearables to connected things, these devices have different functions, different screen sizes, and generate different types of data. We’re seeing new devices crop up on a seemingly daily basis.
This presents many challenges for IT departments in the near future. How will you connect these new data points, and tie everything together? How must your application development adapt to the growing IoT trend?
“There seem to be two camps: wearables and connected home/retail,” says Andrew Levy, CSO of Apteligent. “Smartwatches and bands will need to focus on killer use cases outside of fitness to increase wider adoption. New IoT hardware and platforms should enable app developers to create new experiences. The growth in IoT will increase the demand for tools in the API ecosystem. Companies struggled to execute quickly on native apps, and the ecosystem is moving so quickly that IoT presents an even greater challenge. Service virtualization and API design tools present a quicker time to market by enabling legacy systems to speak to these newer connected devices.”
3. Predictive analytics gains momentum in the enterprise
Over the last few years, we’ve seen descriptive analytics take off in the enterprise. Descriptive analytics make up the vast majority of Business Intelligence (BI) efforts. It helps you understand past data and make decisions based on that information.
Predictive analytics is the next logical step in BI. It takes in past data and predicts future outcomes based on that information.
While growth of predictive analytics has been slow up until now, we’re about to see it pick up momentum. Why? The growth of data combined with improving predictive analytic software paves the way for greater enterprise adoption.
“Businesses will start to use big data to predict future behavior,” says Sumit Nijhawan CEO & President of Infogix. “There have been a lot of tools to help build predictive models, but big data analysis opened up quite a bit of dark analysis/new insights to new data that businesses never had before. Once this is figured out, then new predictive models will open up.”
4. Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in cybersecurity
Cyberattacks are on the rise, reaching record highs in the past two years. We can only expect these numbers to grow.
But, that’s not the biggest problem. As explained in this article, businesses make the same application security mistakes year after year. Security problems that should be easily avoided are still cropping up in business applications.
While that’s bad enough, it gets even worse. A recent survey finds that insider threats are also on the rise. The fact is, your biggest security threat is often your own employees–either accidentally or maliciously.
What can you do to fight these external and internal security risks? In the near future, we’ll see more and more businesses turn to artificial intelligence as a way to quickly identify security problems.
“Machine learning, data mining and artificial intelligence will play a significant role in cybersecurity,” says Michael Fimin, CEO and co-founder of Netwrix. “The ability to process large amounts of unstructured data from multiple sources and reveal security issues hidden in Big Data will allow organizations to discover patterns that can be used to identify compromised data and take the necessary mitigating action.”
5. Containers will significantly move into production
The popularity of containers has grown dramatically over the past couple of years. For those unfamiliar with the concept, this article offers a nice definition: “Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get software to run reliably when moved from one computing environment to another. This could be from a developer’s laptop to a test environment, from a staging environment into production and perhaps from a physical machine in a data center to a virtual machine in a private or public cloud.”
I won’t get into the full definition of containers in this post (as it would be too lengthy), but that article also provides a good explanation of the technology.
Over the last year, we’ve seen more companies experiment with containers, but the technology is not yet widely adopted across the business world. Over the next few years, we can expect that to change–as more businesses recognize the value that containers provide.
“Containers will move beyond the experimental phase,” says Alex Polvi, founder and CEO of CoreOS. “Early adopters will show the benefits of high utilization and other values of container technologies overall. We will begin to see a significant number of enterprise companies move containers into production for new applications that begins to set them apart from competition.”
These are just 5 IT trends you can expect to see in the near future, but the list could certainly be much longer. If you would like to add anything to this list, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to share in the comments.