The start of 2015 saw some attention-grabbing predictions suggesting major changes were afoot in the IT industry. We took some of these predictions and looked at them under the microscope to see whether the developments they suggested came true.
Hybrid cloud is the future
Few organisations have adopted full cloud services. Usually, only small companies or new start-ups that don't have legacy setups or the funds to purchase infrastructures will go fully into the cloud. Most will operate using a hybrid cloud model because they already have existing business critical infrastructure in place, and this architecture is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
So if you're planning updates, there are three key things to think about:
1. Maintain a continuous inventory on what cloud services your people are using - try and catch up with people and what they're doing to pre-empt them.
2. As you're updating, renovating or replacing legacy systems - consider whether to instead use the cloud - carry out a full cost/benefit analysis of every service.
3. Use the big public cloud services where possible as they have solutions around the world, and the best communications backbone to support them.
Mobility is the new normal
Mobility today really is the new normal and means more than just the device that fits in your pocket. Bulky laptops are being replaced by powerful tablets. For companies it means that when selecting software, flexibility is key. It simply has to work across a wide range of devices.
When considering a mobility policy, businesses need to:
1. Decide whether to try and control the devices and apps people use, or let people choose for themselves? Bear in mind not everyone will agree with your policy and some may opt to use their own devices.
2. Be platform agnostic, especially if you choose not to control the devices people choose. Services need to operate across all three major mobile operating systems because people will choose what works best for them, not necessarily what works best for you.
A major buzzword in mobility is wearables. It's an area where there has been some disappointment in 2015 as it hasn't come true in the way many had hoped it would.
So what should the IT department do when considering a wearable policy?
1. Wait. Watch the market and monitor for interesting innovations but don't necessarily invest yet, there's probably still more to come.
2. Don't think that they will necessarily replace established methods. Make sure you're thinking through the real difference wearable technology will make, and the value it will add.
Internet of Things will become about software and not hardware, platforms not devices
The Internet of Things (IoT) has spawned a wide variety of quirky ideas, from smart fridges that can tell you when you need more milk to smart homes that 'know' you're home and can control the heating accordingly. In truth, though, we're some way from seeing IoT in the business mainstream.
It's important to consider the following when debating whether to roll out IoT:
1. Do you have the money to invest in it now and will it actually deliver a return on your investment?
2. Start at the end. Think about what your end goal will be before you think about whether it's worth that initial investment.
Investment in Software-as-a-Service will grow
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is now a commonly used phrase, with many predicting a rapid uptake by business. PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), for example, has predicted $78 billion will be invested by 2016. Deploying software platforms into the cloud can be fast, secure and cost-effective, but only if it fits with the company. SaaS won't work for every business because every business is different.
Choosing a SaaS model to fit your organisation's needs, therefore, requires thought and you should consider the following before diving in:
1. Think about the level of control you need. If you're running a mail server then you won't need much, but if you're developing a business critical solution you need as much control as possible, and this affects the investment decision.
2. Seriously consider the single tenant option, as it can create a more secure environment that is able to adapt to the needs of the business.