IT research firm Gartner recently revealed its top 10 list of tech trends with the most potential to drive digital business through next year. For summary purposes, each item was combined to form three key takeaways:
- The lines between the physical and virtual worlds continue to blur.
- The real answers to business problems lie in intelligence, not data.
- IT must undergo a dramatic transformation to adapt to today’s business climate.
The list I came up with expands on some of Gartner’s takeaways and introduces a few other trends IT service providers should watch to be strategic in 2015 and well into the future.
- Software Defined IT – From data centers and networking to storage and security technologies, the software-defined infrastructure is giving enterprises the flexibility and agility needed to thrive in the digital era of business. IT service providers who capitalize on this trend can appeal to customers with solutions that allow for the rapid provisioning and scaling of resources with minimal management overhead.
- Cloud Consulting – Cloud solutions are often touted as having a user-friendly, one-click type of simplicity. This is true in some cases, but complexity and challenges do exist, particularly in larger scale deployments. The more we adopt, the more doors will open for knowledgeable third parties to enter and offer expert advice. MSPs and other IT service providers might want to consider acting as consultants that can guide businesses on the A to Z’s of cloud adoption.
- Managed 3D Printing – Gartner predicts that 3D printers will see a 98 percent increase in 2015, preceded by double the amount of units shipped the following year as the price on hardware continues to drop. Furthermore, the firm expects that nearly 20 percent of digital retailers will use this technology to tailor personalized products for their respective markets by next year. Lucrative opportunities exist for IT companies who can deliver managed services that remove the complexities and challenges of 3D printing.
- Big Boy IT – One of the most interesting items on Gartner’s list was an emerging trend called “web-scale IT”. Gartner described it as a concept that enables smaller IT shops to operate with the efficiency of larger service providers backed by global infrastructures. The thought is that strategic investments in cloud computing will give IT teams of virtually any size the capacity necessary to seamlessly scale on a level similar to Amazon, Google, and other web giants.
- Bigger, Smarter Data – Advanced analytics was listed alongside smart machines and context-rich systems in the trend group Gartner highlighted as “Intelligence Everywhere”. More organizations will adopt a big data mentality as volumes continue to mount in structured and unstructured data silos alike. Look for IT companies to turn to predictive analytics, data visualization, and other advanced technologies that allow them to focus on the value of intelligence rather than data itself.
- BYOD Enabling – A recent survey by Spiceworks found that BYOD is embraced by 61 percent of organizations with 500 or more employees, and even more popular among organizations (83 percent) with less than 20 employees. The bring-your-own-device movement is in full effect, but few companies are endowed with the resources necessary to tackle it alone. IT service providers can win big by helping clients overcome the governance, mobile device management, and security challenges associated with BYOD.
- Worst Case Scenario Security – Lesson one of IT security is understanding that no protective technology is 100 percent bulletproof. Next is realizing that your existing stack of encryption, intrusion detection, and anti-malware tools is no longer enough to ward off the bad guys. In its top 10 list, Gartner paints the future of security as a mix of risk-based policies, self-aware software designs, and dynamic access controls. It’s a multi-layered approach to an ever evolving threat landscape that seems to add a few new layers each day.
The aforementioned trends suggest that IT service providers have a healthy helping of opportunities and challenges ahead of them. What trends do you think we need to keep an eye on in 2015 to infinity?