2014 Predictions: A look at the enterprise and the year ahead

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2013 showed to be a year of rapid change for the IT environment. Unofficially dubbed the ‘year of Big Data’, enterprises had to think in new ways to find the right business solutions and navigate the unstructured management of large data sets, while Systems Integrators were presented with the enhanced challenges of cloud computing. So what’s ahead for the field in 2014? Ian McVey, director of marketing and business development for enterprise and SIs looks ahead and predicts a pivotal year, focused on cost containment and reduction, the further evolution of ‘BYOD’, consumerization of IT and increasing enterprise adoption of Android.

Top 10 Predictions:

1)    Fiscal policy will continue to drive cost-focus for enterprises. Government fiscal policy will continue to stimulate local economies via quantitative easing.  This places a question mark over depth of post-2008 recovery and may lead to a pre-election (U.S., UK) boom and post-election bust.  This flows into corporate IT spending with a mix of optimism and caution, with pocketed areas of increased spending offset by ongoing risk adversity and caution manifest in cost reduction initiatives.
   
2)    Managing risks and data protection in light of PRISM will continue to be a driver for enterprise infrastructure in 2014. In June of last year PRISM came to the media forefront internationally bringing enterprise concern for security to the top of IT agendas everywhere. As the U.S. government continues to pick up the mess, businesses globally are ramping up on security everywhere – enterprise infrastructure, cybersecurity, data, etc. 2014 will promote a year of ‘smarter IT’ focussed on managing risks and data protection across sectors. This will see increased recognition of onshore data sovereignty requirements, particularly across EU.

3)    The enterprise will look to deploy technology as a case-by-case basis to drive change. As the debate around Big Data continues to be at the epicentre of enterprise IT decisions, 2014 will only further elevate the message – enterprises have a depth of opportunity when it comes to looking at Big Data and making a case for business change. In 2012 we saw the industry exploring Big Data and asking ‘what is it? will it last?’ 2013 was a pivotal year for moving toward exploring measurement and the impact Big Data can and should have on the enterprise – the opportunities for growth and smarter, more calculated IT decisions were shown to be endless. As we encroach upon 2014, we’ll start to see the enterprise look at Big Data from a further, more practical and analytical stance to better take advantage of the information available and make stronger, more calculated cases for technology change.

4)    2014 will bring increased recognition around public vs. private cloud architecture and the integration challenges faced. At a macro level, many companies will face the realization that connecting private to public will not be an easy task. As the move to public happens, we’ll start to see silos of information left behind on the private cloud and businesses will be looking for solutions to fill these gaps. The debate around the cloud (public v. private) will prove to be a top agenda items across the enterprise.

5)    There will be further recognition of cloud commercials and business units will look more deeply to this when making data centre decisions. Since inception, the cloud has been seen as the panacea for lowering IT costs. Next year we will see a continued movement toward the cloud, but with an increased focus from decision makers on the bottom line as 2013 proved to shed light on underlying fees to businesses. We saw that while cloud companies may charge lower fees initially, when looked at unit by unit, costs were sometimes more expensive than predicted. Expenses across the board – from every side of technology – will be re-evaluated and debated across sectors next year, placing the cloud at the top of IT discussions.

6)    Supplier consolidation will happen as increased business pressures arise for commercials.  With increased pressure and disruption from new cloud-related business models, incumbent Sis and Outsourcers will face continuing pressure on their legacy business model.  2014 will continue to be a year for incumbents to “adapt or die”. Further M&A activity is likely as a consequence of supplier consolidation.

7)    The rise of cloud service brokers. Across the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to consolidate – everything from costs, to systems within the business to the amount of providers they have to engage with. Everyone is looking to have it all under one roof will one person to go to. With this we’ll see the rise for the cloud service broker who will ensure they provide the enterprise with not only technology choice, but commercial reassurance. Companies like ComputeNext – making cloud brokerage simple, sewing together choice in cloud services with the metrics and data to feed smart decision making processes – will bring an elevated value proposition to the field. So why the change? Choice and flexibility all in one place.

8)    Consumerisation of IT will infiltrate the sector as increasing budget for ‘BYOD’ is deployed. A term being used across the sector, the ‘consumerisation of IT’ will be a mainstay in IT debates next year. As the work environment evolves, so do the devices that are being used. As devices and the applications accessible to users expand and infiltrate just how people do their job each day (at a basic level – email on your phones), IT decision makers will be evaluating just how they address – from internal policy changes to the expansion of company budgets to better support such devices.

9)    The skills gap will not go away…anytime soon. As stated in a report out earlier this year from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, 300,000 recruits are needed to fill IT employment gaps by 2023. As evident from the study’s results, the new roles will require broader, deeper and more specialised technical IT knowledge in order for businesses to run at full capacity. What does this mean for 2014? This will be a come of age scenario impacting businesses at every level as companies look to make a case for big data, implementing major business infrastructure changes based on the new level of insight. With this, there will be an enhanced need for for high-level IT specialisms, such as data scientists, analytics experts, security specialists, IT architects and Big Data gurus. At the top of the jobs debate, the skills gap will likely hamper the sectors growth, and in turn have a big impact on developments across the tech community next year.

10)    Mobility will bring gold to Android as the platform looks to fully make its mark in the enterprise next year. Love it or hate it, Android is on the rise – from general consumers to the enterprise, the platform has made its mark as we enter the new world of ‘consumerisation of IT’. According to IDC, the Android community, led by Samsung, will maintain its volume advantage over Apple, showing that Google Play app downloads and revenues are making dramatic gains and the "app ecosystem value gap" will be significantly narrowed in 2014. And the clock will be ticking louder for Microsoft, which will need to quickly double mobile developer interest in Windows.