There’s no doubt that 2015 will be seen as the year wearables went mainstream, the time that beacons became more widespread to truly enable the Internet of Things, and when a white-and-gold (or blue-and-black) dress sent the internet into a frenzy.
With analytics moving to the fore and an ever increasing number of businesses focused on delivering services across what Gartner calls The Device Mesh, “an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses”, the pressure on today’s IT infrastructure is ever-growing.
Warren Olivier, regional manager for Southern Africa at Veeam Software, believes that four key trends will drive the next 12 months of enterprise IT management and define our experiences – both in the workplace and as consumers. He looks ahead to the top technology trends that will affect businesses in 2016:
* The criticality of availability: In 2016, the Internet of Things brings availability to the fore. The rise of mobile and connected devices demonstrates that there is zero tolerance for downtime. All organisations – from a consumer facing business, a mobile service provider or the stock market, the days of organisations being able to suffer through any downtime are long gone. Even a slight outage of a few hours will cause everyone involved in the business to be unhappy that they don’t have access, but more importantly, businesses will lose money, data, respect of employees, credibility from partners and loyalty of customers, doing potential damage to consumer and investor confidence. As the Internet of Things continues to gather momentum, the potential cost of downtime is set to escalate. Minimising downtime and data loss is critical to the overall health of all businesses and ensuring the end user remains satisfied. In addition, since more data and services are now both on premises and in the cloud, businesses in 2016 will need to ensure they have strategies to backup, protect and restore their data on all fronts.
* Legacy thinking, applications and systems must not stifle innovation: The industry has seen significant growth in the capabilities of infrastructure and delivery models, but many organisations haven’t modernised their application footprint in alignment with the velocity of the changes to technologies around these legacy applications. Over the next year, companies will draw the line and migrate to the next generation of application technologies to keep up with competitors. There are clear advantages to making use of the newest infrastructure and application technologies, but there have been some blockages in the past. For example, current staff may be entrenched; or legacy applications may be foreseen to be “required forever”. Today there are techniques to modernise nearly any application, and for the legacy applications that need to be held around for retention reasons, infrastructure technologies today can keep obsolete operating systems and applications online. This migration to the next generation of applications will not be easy for some businesses, but will be worth it to deliver on the bottom line. Companies will see new benefits from an IT perspective; but also have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate their business. Migrating away from these systems will enable businesses to offer new services that meet the demand of an Always-On workforce and customer base.
* Big data will appear to shrink: Harnessing and capitalising on big data will remain critical for businesses, but as the cost of storage continues to fall, it will become the norm over the next year. Big data will drop its “big” label and instead come to be viewed simply as data to be harnessed effectively for customers, partners and staff. Businesses will be able to increasingly focus on interfaces and connecting end users to data, further elevating the importance of availability of service delivery. It’s expected that 2016 will see increased adoption of virtual reality (Oculus, Microsoft Hololens), motion-based interfaces, speech recognition and 3D printing as a means to manufacture. For business, the IT interface is changing too: in the face of explosive data growth, traditional data management techniques no longer apply. The operator interface will focus increasingly on automation and data lifecycle management to ensure the right data is in the hands of the right person at the right time.
* The emergence of disaster recovery-as-a-service: As cloud-based infrastructure continues to become the de facto standard for businesses, we’re seeing new service offerings grow in popularity and market share. For example, many companies are increasingly implementing cloud-based Security as a Service within their business to help combat cyberattacks and ensure business continuity. Veeam predicts Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) to be a game changer in 2016, as it will enable businesses to meet and exceed customer and employee expectations around availability. As businesses place IT and availability at the centre of their operations, we can expect to see service level agreements with guaranteed backup and recovery times becoming the standard for the modern enterprise.