2016 will be characterized by power shifts as corporate IT, and the technology it employs, transforms at an exponential rate. The impact of these power shifts will affect customer budgets and priorities, which will in turn change technology vendor approaches.
Many of these predictions have already started in 2015, via early adopters, and will continue to become mainstream in 2016.
- The Balance of IT Power Leans Away from Technology Vendors
Some very large organizations such as Royal Phillips, GE, and JPMC have not only adopted cloud but they have also ripped up their IT approach to lean towards line-of-business IT procurement and consumption. What this means is that they have eliminated central IT-driven procurement contracts – often seen as out of touch, and wasteful and limiting – and moved vendors to consumption-based agreements with no upfront costs, no lock-in, no minimum use, and pay-as-you-go billing. Many vendors are responding. For instance, Microsoft is modifying its popular Enterprise Agreement program to be consumption-focused, meaning that customer dollars are targeted at the consumption of Office 365 and cloud units instead of CPUs or other old-fashioned licensing constructs. Those vendors that resist, such as SAP did with Royal Phillips, will lose their direct relationship with the customer – as the customer inserts a service provider as a gateway, or middleman, between them.
- Developers Move from the Basement to the Boardroom
During 2016, the perception that developers are basement-dwelling, socially-awkward techies with no grasp on business reality will continue to be shattered. As “software eats the world,” and as companies change their core competency from “shifting atoms” to using software to delight customers, developers will become distributed across lines of business and into the C-suite as they create business processes in software in real time. As a result, companies will need to publicly change their image, as well as changing their internal thinking, to adopt approaches such as Open Source to attract the best developer talent.
- Vendors Increasingly Sell Technology Directly to Lines of Business
Shadow IT has been around for a number of years, and if you’ve ever worked on an IT service desk you know that it is at least fifteen years old. Technology changes have upped the stakes for Shadow IT and lines of business are increasingly eschewing central IT functions and going straight to the technology vendors themselves, especially cloud vendors. Key to this is the line-of-business departments not needing deep, traditional IT skills; with modern Shadow IT purchases mostly of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) variety, such as CRM and customer support, IT service management (ITSM) and IT service desk, and marketing applications. Oracle has seen and responded to this, understanding that there is a gap between the huge enterprise IT market and the current cloud leaders, AWS and Azure, who are still mostly focused on infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). But who knows where AWS and Azure will head in 2016?
- Frameworks Avoid the Waste of “Samework”
2015 saw the rise of PaaS after years of promise. CloudFoundry became a foundation consisting of customers and vendors; new alliances emerged with RedHat’s OpenShift now playing nice on Azure; and Pivotal continued to shout the loudest from the highest hilltop. Netflix open-sourced much of their operationally-minded PaaS components, with these now included in CloudFoundry, such that PaaS offerings are very complete. These “opinionated PaaS” frameworks can help organizations to “get there faster” by not needing to reinvent things such as log-in mechanisms, monitoring systems, or identity and access management systems. The more opinionated a platform is, the less needs to be built for the platform to be functional and operational. Any developers not using an opinionated PaaS in 2016 should be questioned thoroughly as to why they are reinventing the wheel.
- IoT Drives Exponential Growth of Data and Connectivity
There are already a number of excellent business IoT use cases and these will explode, across a variety of industries, where significant investment has been earmarked. These industries include healthcare, aviation, home automation, and civil infrastructure among others. As IoT sensors become smaller and cheaper, and thus more ubiquitous, they will both require more wireless connectivity and will generate huge amounts of time-series data. Such data has unique properties such as large occurrences of small, unchanging sensor-data writes and variable-frequency big-data reads on the same data. Combined, these will drive more cloud usage (the essential characteristics of broad network access and elastic capacity being essential for IoT) and new database systems such as Basho’s Riak TS.
- Malware Combat and Breach Reduction
Sadly, more than 90 percent of corporate security breaches are caused by employees being hijacked by malware or suckered by phishing to reveal their credentials to criminals. In 2016, multiple factors of access security will become the norm to replace the username and passwords we are all so familiar with. For instance, authentication code generators on mobile phones. New security software will interpret email attachments and applications embedded in browsers, such as PDF browsers, to decompose the content, check it against known safe formats (using whitelists), and recompose correctly before passing it on to the end user.