This is the time of year when traditionally those of us with title like “CTO” are asked to take some time to think about the trends and priorities we expect will have the most impact in the next 12 months. Looking back at 2016, the IT sector has been dominated by the realization that it needs to make better use of its data and digital assets and become leaner and more agile than ever before.
With digital transformation appearing the agenda of CIOs across the world, we can expect to see an increasing number of organizations striving to reach digital maturity in 2017. This is backed up by recent research from Forbes Insights, which revealed that 42% of organizations in Asia Pacific consider themselves either advanced or leaders in terms of their digital transformation journey.
Aside from the implied continued rise of digital maturity, there are some other key trends that I expect will gain some ground in 2017:
#1: Productivity Gains Will Be More About People, Process and Business Outcomes
Despite the explosion of new technology over the past 10 years, productivity has declined compared to the previous decade according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. This is possibly because processes have not kept up with new technologies.
As a result, agile infrastructure, migrating to cloud, and the benefits of DevOps will gain greater attention as a way to speed up the development and deployment of applications and services with the winning combination of less error, yet less effort required. The ultimate aim of this is to reduce IT “busy work” and reassign intellect towards innovation.
Agile infrastructure and cloud delivery models will empower those with the most business insight and most innovative ideas to drive their own technology projects. 2017 will be about putting the power of innovation into the hands of those with the best ideas.
#2: Accelerating Transition to Cloud
When speaking of a transition to “cloud” I like to differentiate between moving to “The Cloud”, which most people intuitively equate with public cloud and moving to “cloud” which people often confuse with public cloud when they might mean modern, agile, self-service infrastructure even if it is largely based on premise. I think we will see the continued rise of both types in 2017 and discussions around both continue to be relevant.
The Asian market has been relatively quick to embrace the Cloud, with Asia leading the world in this year’s Cloud Readiness Index. My feeling is that, IT managers across APAC will be focused on developing skills in Cloud monitoring, Cloud workload performance and security management, as well as Cloud capacity management. This will support their moves toward big “C” Cloud.
For little “c” cloud I feel customers will want more simplicity and automation for those pieces that remain on premise. Instead of buying infrastructure from different vendors and knitting them together with management software, IT will want access to the converged systems that can most easily deliver infrastructure-as-a-service without being a science experiment. By combining converged solutions, like Hitachi’s Unified Compute Platform, with cloud management solutions, like VMware vRealize, enterprises can deliver a pre-engineered approach for private, and hybrid cloud via a single management interface.
#3: Bimodal IT
Bimodal IT refers to two modes of IT – 1. Traditional: emphasizing safety, accuracy and availability and 2. Nonlinear: emphasizing agility and speed. While many may wish for the ability to simply do away with legacy application stacks and start afresh, the reality of the need for business continuity built on well understood and supported mission-critical systems continues. I expect bimodal IT to continue for some time yet, possibly in the same way that we will see both big “C” and little “c” cloud for some time yet, and for similar reasons.
From a storage perspective it is important that data from both IT modes can be leveraged, so organizations will look more to systems that can bridge the gap between the two. This means the ability to present cloud protocols, the capability to be instantiated on premise or in public clouds and to facilitate data mobility between these environments. Tools like Pentaho Enterprise Data Integration, that can bring together the data warehouse of mode 1, with the unstructured data of mode 2 to provide users with a clear view of all their data, will gain significant traction.
#4: A Centralized Data Hub
Data is becoming increasingly valuable. Recent IDC research revealed that 53% of organizations in the region consider big data and analytics important and have adopted or plan to adopt it in the near future. Companies are finding new ways to correlate and merge data from different sources to gain more insight, while repurposing old data for different uses.
Highly disruptive Internet-based businesses have shown that the ability to wield data effectively is extremely valuable. To ensure the governance and accessibility of this data, IT needs to create a centralized data hub for better management, use and protection of data. This “repository of everything an organization knows” will need to be an object store that can scale beyond the limitations of traditional storage systems, ingest data from different sources, and provide search across public and private clouds as well as mobile devices.
#5: Growing Awareness of IoT in the Data Center
The decisions we make in IT in 2017 should be made with an eye towards IoT. The integration of IT and OT with analytics is the first step. Today, IoT requires data scientists and researchers with deep domain expertise and most projects are in the proof-of-concept stage. Hitachi Data Systems, along with other divisions in Hitachi and outside partners, is developing an IoT core platform, Lumada, to develop and deliver baked IoT solutions that are open, adaptable, verified and secure.
Next year’s trends are being driven by a clear enterprise demand to deliver on all the promises of digital transformation, with APAC set to lead the way. Regardless of industry, IT is seeing a fundamental shift as enterprises embrace the new revenue streams, efficiencies and possibilities provided by digitization.
To hear more of my thoughts on APAC tech trends for 2017, please join my upcoming Webcast here on December 14, 2016.