eWeek: 15 Out-of-the-Box Predictions for IT This Year

January 9, 2015-

By Chris Preimesberger

Years ago, when he was asked whether Web services were going to be the “next big thing,” Oracle co-founder and then-CEO Larry Ellison responded: “I’ve spent too much time in Italy to know that you shouldn’t ignore fashion.”  In tech, we like nothing better than a new trend, because they become new products—and eventually new income streams—for enterprises. We also know that fashion matters, so we’ve learned that it’s generally best to get on board with it—or at least become familiar with fashionable trends—if at all possible. In the IT industry, we also like to look ahead, based on what we experienced in the past, to anticipate what important trends are coming, so that we can be aware of new ideas in order to stay competitive. “IT marketers have proven to be masters at hyping new trends, setting unrealistically high expectations for them and then, when the dust settles, sometimes making money,” wrote Jeremy Burton, EMC’s president of products and marketing.  In this eWEEK slide show, we offer 15 predictions for IT in 2015 from industry executives that may raise an eyebrow or two, depending upon your own knowledge of the industry.

The CDO Position Will Gain Prominence

Chief data officers (CDOs) aren’t the norm outside Silicon Valley, but data governance is. Data-driven Silicon Valley organizations, such as Yahoo and even the City of San Francisco, have paved the way for the emerging CDO role. MIT has led the way from the academic side in promoting the new CDO position within enterprises. Beyond the Valley, you may not find many CDOs, but we’ll see a big increase in the need for more data governance in 2015 as data moves from being an opportunity to being an asset. —Neil Biehn, vice president of science and research, PROS Holdings

Analytics Will Become Invisible In 2015

Enterprises will devote exponentially more resources to harness the power of unstructured data; they recognize that it is a requirement for success in the new application economy. By the end of the year, we’ll see an emergence of “invisible analytics,” in which top companies will adopt new, behind-the-curtain methods to derive and implement as-it-happens insight, manage customer data and detect threats. Taking that idea a step further, predictive analytics will move from aspirational to real for many organizations. It will introduce real business value and will have massive impacts on convenience, customer insights and security.  —Andi Mann, vice president of strategic solutions, CA

BYOD Policies Will Fail

In the face of distributed workforces and project-based working groups that include third-party contractors, and so on, apps need to be shared across borders without the limitation of BYOD policies to secure devices. Instead of practicing intrusive control over internal and external devices, enterprises will be turning to Web-based tools that efficiently silo private and corporate data on the same device—allowing IT departments to secure corporate information without infringing on the personal device.

Specialized Firewalls Are on the Way

2015 will see a rise in the sales of specific types of firewalls. They’re already available for health care-related wearables, such as heart pacemakers and monitors. Don’t believe someone could use this type of hack for ill? Remember when the acclaimed TV drama series “Homeland” climaxed with a devious plot by terrorists to kill America’s vice president by hacking into his pacemaker? Critics scoffed at the ludicrousness of the idea, but there’s a new market already growing up around this worrisome possibility. —Craig Bachman, senior director, Open Digital Program at TM Forum

Watch Out for Data Wrangling

“Data wrangling” will be the biggest area requiring innovation, automation and simplicity. Modeling and wrangling data from disparate systems into shape for insights for decades has been lengthy, tedious and labor-intensive. Most organizations today spend 70 percent to 80 percent of their time modeling and preparing data rather than interacting with data to generate business-critical insights. Simplifying data prep and data wrangling through automation will take shape in 2015 so businesses can reach a fast clip on real data-driven insights.  —Sharmila Mulligan, CEO and founder, ClearStory Data

TV Viewing Will Evolve Through Social Media

Consumers are spending more time in front of the TV with digital and mobile devices in hand, and social media is the main way people are interacting with TV content. Social media platforms will be able to define like-minded communities organized around TV viewing habits, and lead to more sophisticated targeting based on other interests and habits. Transmedia storytelling involves creating a story that is broken into several different elements that are then conveyed across multiple media without losing the intent or meaning of the original narrative. You’ll be hearing a lot more about interacting with content through transmedia storytelling in 2015. —Cyrille Berson, multi-screen video equipment product manager, Envivio

Internet of Things Goes Mainstream

IoT will continue to mature across a range of industry sectors, and companies are focused on the actionable potential IoT holds for businesses today. People are eager to understand and implement IoT in their businesses, a trend that’s reinforced by a 430 percent increase in searches for IoT on Bing in the last 12 months. IoT is not just about connecting “things” anymore; this proliferation of sensors and cloud computing has given businesses access to nearly unlimited amounts of data, which is IoT’s payoff. The challenge for successful companies in the coming year will be to harness this data to act on key insights, improve customer service, reduce time to market, enable innovation in product and service development, and ultimately transform themselves with new business models and revenue streams.  —Susan Hauser, corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft

Not So Sure About Wearables

Apple fanatics worldwide expect wearables to go mainstream following the emergence of iWatch, but I’m not so sure. Let’s face it, nobody under 35 wears a watch anymore; they rely on their smartphones for everything. A lot of wearables will fail, with the people wearing their Bluetooth earpieces all day propping up the market. Now, that said, not all wearable technology will end in abject failure. Stand-alone, niche wearables that shake up industries for the better—such as FitBits or Jawbones that monitor vitals or health activity—will continue to flourish and be incorporated into sports clothing, shoes and equipment. —Jeremy Burton, president, products and marketing, EMC

Rent, Not Own

I’m intrigued by the notion that we’re never going to own anything anymore. There will be more and more companies like Airbnb to act as brokers for the consumers. What does Bitcoin mean for currencies and the stability of the world economy? Security. The Internet was never designed to be secure, and now it’s the backbone of our economy. We need to redesign it. Or maybe have two Internets. —Stephanie von Friedeburg, CIO, The World Bank

Passwords Give Way to Continuous Security

On the heels of a year fraught with breaches, hacks and password scrutiny, security strategy in 2015 will shift significantly: Instead of vigorously enforcing security, companies instead will take a more targeted approach to detecting insecurity. This will be driven by behavioral analytics, enabling companies to detect anomalies in patterns of individual behavioral data, and prioritizing who or what to investigate. This same approach to analytics-based security will also drive new value and use cases, enabling instances of “zero-touch authentication” where predictive analytics will make silent decisions in the background, based on consumer behaviors and locations. Security will also be embedded early on into the development life cycle so that DevOps practices grow to include continuous security.  —Andi Mann, vice president of strategic solutions, CA

Data Tunnel:  It’s About the Software, Stupid

In the last decade or so, most companies have quit the business of writing software. IT departments have become experts at managing data center infrastructure and implementing ERP systems. In the next decade, almost every industry will be redefined by software, with much of that software being deployed on mobile devices. We’re talking about smartphones and tablets for sure, but also in cars, aircraft engines, running shoes and human beings. Tesla is a software-defined car.  Tesla has done to the driving experience what Apple did to the cell phone experience: Your car is now a software platform on which to innovate.  Companies that don’t innovate in this way won’t last long. —Jeremy Burton, president, products and marketing, EMC

IT Becomes the Business Strategy

We’re entering an era where IT becomes the central source of revenue for a business. 2015 will see a shift in the way businesses structure themselves, looking for new ways of engaging with customers, partners, employees and competitors to generate new revenue opportunities using connected devices, big data and analytics. Underpinning these new models will be a fundamental shift in the way software is developed and deployed, moving from traditional app servers toward lighter-weight, API-first architectures. While 2014 was the year DevOps gained widespread recognition, 2015 will be the year where the practice is more fully understood and integrated as part of a strategic business imperative. —Andi Mann, vice president of strategic solutions , CA

Big Data: Less IT, More Use Cases

The conversation around big data analytics is becoming less about technology and more about driving successful business use cases. In 2015, we’re going to see a continuous movement out of IT and into generating ROI-oriented deployment models. Secondly, I think we’re going to see resources move away from heavy in-house big data infrastructure to big data-as-a-service in the cloud. We’re already seeing a lot of investment in this area, and we expect this to grow steadily. —Stefan Groschupf, founder and CEO, Datameer

2015 Won’t Be the Year IoT Impacts Corporate WANs

Despite the hype, IoT will have no impact on the corporate wide-area network in 2015. The Internet of things will radically alter the computing landscape in future years, but it will have next to no impact in the enterprise in 2015. —Deepak Kumar, CTO and founder, Adaptiva

Machine Learning Will Give Enterprises Big Advantages

In 2015, businesses will begin to fully make use of big data services in the cloud. We at Microsoft expect machine learning to grow exponentially across the retail, manufacturing and health care sectors, in particular. This growth will be driven by three factors: broader access to machine learning, massive computing power connecting systems and services, and the explosion of online data. These developments create more opportunities for organizations to use machine learning for data-driven decision making. —Susan Hauser, corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft


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