To shepherd in the new year, I've created a list of 15 IT trends for 2015 from which I list six here.
They're in no particular order, and most are not new -- they're just more relevant in 2015 given the long lead time for mass corporate adoption of new technologies, practices, and thinking despite what industry pundits get excited about and predict.
Continued cloud adoption, with growth in hybrid cloud
In 2015, IT organizations will continue to move IT services to third-party cloud service providers. Security will continue to be a cause for concern -- especially as the media's frenzied coverage of data breaches continues -- but integrations and service availability will rise to be two very practical concerns for enterprise cloud adoption.
[What does the crystal ball say about big data? Read Big Data: 6 Bold Predictions For 2015]
The hybrid cloud, defined by analyst firm Gartner as "a combination of private, public, and community cloud services," will rise in popularity during 2015 as companies look to get the best benefits from the private cloud such as cost savings, flexibility, or scale and from public cloud such as cloud cost savings while still meeting internal or external governance requirements.
From an IT management point of view, companies will continue to seek out people with the ability to manage suppliers and cloud service delivery over the technology itself.
There's no escaping that people costs -- by that I mean the people who operate a corporate data center and its services -- continue to be a big part of total IT costs. The increased use of cloud services will continue to reduce people costs, but there's still a need to reduce human touch points, and the associated costs within corporate data centers and operational environments with speedier delivery and fewer human errors as benefits. In 2015, we'll see even more adoption of automation tools like Puppet and Chef by corporate IT groups under pressure to reduce costs and show business value.
The BYO epiphany and mobile pervasiveness
This is where corporate IT organizations will finally wake up to see that Shadow IT, BYOD, or BYO-anything are not being driven by consumer IT and cloud service providers, but by the IT organization's inability to meet stakeholder and user expectations across usability, cost, service, and agility.
The 10 years of "consumerization of IT" talk, with a focus on consumer gadgets, has thus been a red herring -- hiding the true root cause of customer discontent with existing IT supply. With this epiphany, corporate IT organizations will need to change quickly by placing more emphasis on how IT services are consumed and the expectations of the service experience. Additionally, improvements in and demand for anytime, anywhere, any device access to data and services will require better mobile apps, and most likely the continued use of personal devices for work purposes.
Not only will this dictate the need for better service and app design and delivery and more intelligent approaches to BYOD, but also the need to (re)consider the security implications of mobility such as data segregation issues -- with personal and business data and applications isolated from each other on the same device.
The need to manage more complex IT supplier environments
This will happen as enterprises exit outsourcing deals that have failed to deliver against expectations of service improvement, cost savings, and innovation. In 2015, the need for service integration capabilities, often called service integration and management (SIAM) or multisourcing services integration (MSI), will come to the fore.
And this will happen not only for larger companies replacing previously outsourced scenarios across different suppliers, but also smaller organizations needing to manage a portfolio of third-party -- often cloud service -- providers. During 2015, SIAM will require companies to invest in people and skills, new or revised processes that manage third party services, and technology that enables this.
Big data insights
While there will continue to be big talk about big data, the real big data issue for 2015 will be the availability of big data people, and their big data skills, rather than big data technology itself. Companies will need big data people with analytics skills and also skills for building the new data architectures required to handle unstructured data and real-time input. Other advances will be required in areas such as product innovation, customer insights, internal decision-making, or IT service availability as the focus on large data sets continues to disrupt business and IT operations.
Unicorn chasing will continue
Whether it's the large-scale use of cloud technologies or more DevOps strategies, enterprises in 2015 will continue their fascination with the IT operations of technology giants such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
Business leaders will also continue to ask why their IT organizations can't match these technology giants for unit costs, service levels, service experience, customer support, and agility. Thus, they'll continue to chase these unicorns, but I'm not sure that 2015, 2016, or even 2017 will be the year anyone catches them. But this won't stop business stakeholders from having elevated and probably unrealistic expectations of their IT peers.
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