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Hurwitz & Associates - Insight is Action

Judith's Balancing Act

A frank dialog about the impact of emerging technologies such as big data, cloud, and security on customer success

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Are Technology Shakeups in Store for 2015?

Before I start with my predictions, let me explain what I mean by a prediction. I believe that predictions should not be about the end of a technology cycle but the timing for when a issue begins to gain traction that will result in industry shifts.  As I pointed out in my book, Smart or Lucky? How Technology Leaders Turn Change Into Success (Josey Bass, 2011), important industry initiatives and changes usually require decades of trial and error before they result in significant product and important trends.  So, in my predictions, I am pointing out changes that are starting.

a know that the rule is that you need to come up with ten predictions when a new year is about to start. But I decided to break the rule and stick with seven. Call me a renegade. I think that we have a very interesting year taking shape. It will be a year where emerging technologies will move out of strategy and planning into execution. So, I expect that 2015 will not be business as usual. There will be political shakeups in both IT and business leadership as technology takes on an increasingly more strategic role. Companies need to know that the technology initiatives that are driving revenue are secure, scalable, predictable, and manageable. While there will always be new emerging technologies that we take us all by surprise, here is what I expect to drive technology execution and buying plans in the coming year.

1. Hybrid cloud Management will become the leading issue for businesses as they rely on hybrid cloud.

It is clear that companies are using a variety of deployment models for computing. Companies are using SaaS, which obviously is a public cloud-based service. They are using public cloud services to build and sometimes deploy new applications and for additional compute and storage capacity. However, they are also implement private cloud services based on the level of security and governance. When cloud services become commercial offerings for partners and customers, economics favors a private cloud. While having a combination of public and private is pragmatic, this environment will only work with a strong hybrid cloud management service that balances workload across these deployment models and manages how and when various services are used.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) will be dominated by security, performance, and analytics. New players will emerge in droves.

Internet of Things will be coming on strong, since it is now possible to store and analyze data coming from sensors on everything from cars to manufacturing systems and health monitoring devices. Managing security, governance and overall performance of these environments will determine the success or failure of this market. Businesses will have to protect themselves against catastrophic failure – especially when IoT is used to manage real time processes such as traffic management, sensors used in monitoring healthcare, and power management. There will be hundreds of startups. The most successful ones will focus on security, management, and data integration within IoT environments.

3.Digital Marketing disillusion sets in - it is not a substitute for good customer management.

Many marketing departments are heavily investing in digital marketing tools. Now corporate management wants to understand the return on investment. The results are mixed. First, companies are discovering that if they do not improve their customer care processes along with digital marketing software and processes, digital marketing is useless. In fact, it may actually make customer satisfaction worse since customers will be contacted through digital marketing services but will not get better results. This will result in a backlash. Unfortunately, it may be the messenger who is blamed rather than the culprit – poor customer care.

4.Cognitive computing will gain steam as best way to capitalize on knowledge for competitive advantage.

The next frontier in competitive differentiation is how knowledge is managed. The new generation of cognitive solutions will help companies gain control of their unstructured data in order to create solutions that learn. Expect to see hundreds of start ups emerging that combine unstructured data management with machine learning and statistical methods, advanced analytics, data visualization, and Natural Language Processing

5.IT will gain control of brokering and managing cloud services to ensure security and governance.

For the past five years or more business units have been buying their own public cloud compute and storage services, bypassing the IT organization. Many of these organizations were frustrated with the inability of IT to move fast enough to meet their demands for service. When these departments were experimenting with cloud services, expenses could easily been hidden in discretionary accounts. However, these public cloud services move from pilot and experimentation to business applications and services. There are implications for cost, governance and management. As often happens when emerging technology becomes mainstream, IT is being asked to become the broker for hybrid cloud services.

6. Containerization and well designed APIs are becoming the de facto method for creating cross platform services in hybrid computing environment.

One of the benefits of a services architecture is that it is possible to truly begin to link computing elements together without regard to platform or operating system. The maturation of container technology and well-designed APIs are going to be a major game changer in 2015. These issues of containers and APIs are linked together because they are focused on abstraction of services and complexity. These abstractions are an important step towards moving from building applications to linking services together.

7.Data connectivity combined with business process emerging as biggest headache and opportunity in hybrid.

Data connectivity and business process issues are not a new problem for businesses. However, there is a subtle change will major ramifications. Because business units tend to control their own data both on premises and in SaaS applications, it is increasingly difficult for business leadership to create a unified view of data across a variety of business units. Without being able to bring data and process across silos puts businesses at risk. This complexity will emerge as a major challenge for IT organizations in 2015.

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