In December, like everyone else, I decided to present my predictions for 2014. I didn’t publish my predictions in an article or blog. Rather, I decided to experiment. Over a number of days I tweeted my predictions. It was an interesting process. I could avoid the problem of getting too busy and not getting around to finishing the blog. How as my experience? I’d say it was mixed. On the positive side, I continued to tweet ideas as they came into my mind, rather than trying to sit down and come up with my top predictions all at once. On the negative side, those predictions included no commentary or explanation. So, I have taken my predictions for this still new year and added commentary.
Prediction #1: 2014 is an inflection point for emerging technology adoption. Over the past four years businesses have been experimenting with lots of new technologies – big data analytics, cloud services, new approaches to security, and new delivery models for business services. Businesses will begin an important transition from pilots and experimentation to true implementation. Ironically, don’t expect to hear a lot of details about this move to adoption. Companies that have discovered how to use technology to gain an advantage over competitors will be very quiet but very deliberate.
Prediction #2: Platform as a Service merges with Infrastructure as a Service. IaaS is becoming a commodity – the underpinnings for cloud services. The implication of this is clear: Platform as a Service is now the next layer of abstraction on top of IaaS. This is a contrast to the assumption only a year ago that PaaS would be a distinct market. It is not. Rather, PaaS will become the technique to help developers have a consistent development platform both in the cloud and on premises.
Prediction #3: Customers will begin demanding cloud standardization. Any time a market begins to mature, customers will begin to demand standardization so that there can be interoperability and migration options. While vendor will pledge adherence, it will take a number of years before this becomes a reality.
Prediction #4: Artificial Intelligence returns. Yes, it is true. The idea of AI became a forbidden term at the end of the 1980s. The idea of having a machine be designed to replace the functions of a human was debunked. Of course, these new systems are not based on the original concept of artificial intelligence. Rather, what is resurfacing today as AI is a combination of machine learning and advanced analytics. There are a lot of nuances here. But in brief, this new way of developing software is different than trying to write programs to solve complex problems. These new machine learning based systems will transform the way we manage information, learn from that data, and finally transform businesses based on the results.
Prediction #5: Cognitive Computing will begin to revolutionize data management. We are indeed early in the emergence of cognitive computing. Cognitive computing is a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, cloud, and big data. There will be hundreds of startups being funded in 2014 and the market will emerge in 2015. The objective of these systems is to be able to leverage huge volumes of data typically focused on a topic or problem area. These systems are not programmed. Rather, a cognitive system provides techniques for gathering, ingesting, understanding the patterns hidden within that data to achieve a goal. The goal of a cognitive system is to establish collaboration between the machine and the human expert. It will emerge in 2014 and will become one of the most important trends in 2015.
Prediction #6: Security, Compliance, and Governance are becoming a primary differentiator for vendors in the market. This market is not new. What is new is the requirement that systems that touch consumers, customers, suppliers, and partners be protected at a sophisticated level. This market will expand dramatically this year for all types of solutions. The risks are high for customers who aren’t prepared. The vendors that can protect their customers will win.
Prediction #7: Mobility will be the starting point for more than half of innovative development projects. Just last year, businesses were viewing mobile platforms as an add-on to existing as well as new applications. Now, mobile is often the starting point for implementing solutions. Customers therefore cannot afford to have a disconnected development and deployment process.