It’s becoming something of a Fordway tradition to give some technology predictions for the year ahead. But before I do, how did I get on with last year’s predictions?
- Blockchain, not just Bitcoin, will become useful. I think that’s a pass, as we’re now seeing a lot of blockchain initiatives in progress, mostly for financial transactions and supply chain
- AI will dominate the headlines but may not have disrupted your business. Again it’s a pass - in the last six months AI was mentioned on average 47 times every day in the UK and US mainstream press
- You will be using SDN by this time next year – possibly, but only if you bought a new WAN. However, I still believe that SD-WAN will replace private MPLS services for most organisations within the next three to five years due to the compelling cost savings available.
- Fog computing will have become a ‘thing’ - a big fail.
Looking ahead, I think in 2020 the realisation may finally dawn that ‘cloud’ is not a single concept. It means different things to different people and making the decision ‘we need to move services to cloud’ is just the first step in what can be a long journey with multiple stages. It may well include private cloud as an intermediate step on the way to most organisations’ goal, which is a number of integrated SaaS services that collectively deliver everything the organisation needs. You need to know what problems you believe moving to cloud will solve; Azure and AWS already offer over 600 defined services between them, and this is increasing all the time.
Organisations looking to move services to cloud need to define exactly what they want to do so they can find the most appropriate solution, which may not actually be cloud! Although cloud is pretty good for lots of use cases, it’s not the best answer to everything; other options are still valid.
I hope business leaders will also realise that cloud almost certainly won’t save them money unless they fundamentally rethink their digital services organisation. While it takes away in-house IT operations, it creates the need for new skills, such as billing management and service level management of multiple cloud providers to ensure they deliver the agreed service.
Second, whilst IoT genuinely provides new capabilities, I believe that the hype around edge computing will die down as people realise that it is fundamentally on-premise computing re-imagined to cope with more machine generated data. It’s the next step in the regular waves of centralisation and decentralisation which have characterised IT over the last 40 years. One moment we all think that the best place for intelligence in the network is at the edge, and then technology changes and the most logical place for that intelligence becomes the centre. Each organisation needs to consider its own use case and choose the most appropriate solution, depending on how much real time processing is required.
Third, I think data generation, management and storage will continue to be a major issue for most organisations, both in the cloud and on premise. Data is still growing exponentially; the majority is now machine generated, data about data, and it’s very rarely, if ever deleted. But governance, risk and compliance will still be the number one concern of most CIOs next year. We’ll be publishing a White Paper on this in the New Year.
Finally, I think organisations will continue to look for reasons to adopt AI, but as with ERP/cloud/[insert next ’paradigm shift’ here…….], they need to realise that implementing AI in their organisation successfully is a business process and culture issue, not a technology issue. The technology doesn’t care…….