As I look to the New Year, I am very excited about the three big trends that will shape our work with large global enterprises.
TREND ONE: HYBRID CLOUD
Hybrid cloud implementations are growing in popularity as companies benefit from the flexibility of cloud while maintaining tight control over proprietary systems and data. This is achieved by orchestrating between best-of-breed public and private clouds offered by same or multiple providers and traditional data centers. In many cases, the hybrid cloud approach is helping them rebalance their IT assets and investments, enabling them to become more agile, asset-light organizations. At the same time, companies are also insisting on best-in-class solutions.
This is why we are thinking of 2017 as the “Year of Coexistence.” Increasingly, we are being called on to orchestrate the coexistence of the various systems and data sets in hybrid IT models. This implies orchestrating various processes to work with one another – for example, a cloud ERP system with an on-premise finance system. The nature of this work will be ongoing, because system updates will be required, new modules will be introduced and new cloud vendors will be part and parcel of the ecosystem. Coexistence is critical for making the hybrid IT architecture live up to the customer’s expectations for seamless operation.
TREND TWO: A FOCUS ON SECURITY
With the adoption of hybrid cloud and the heightened awareness of the cost of security breaches, there will be an increased focus on security and data protection in 2017 and beyond. Hybrid cloud introduces a new set of security challenges because security and data protection efforts must encompass both on-premises and private clouds as well as public cloud environments. When cloud was new, there were a lot of questions about moving data and applications off premises, but the vendors have solved that. In fact, companies sometimes think about cloud solutions specifically as a way to buy peace of mind—because cloud vendors have more expertise and resources to keep up with ever-growing threats. At the same time, on-premise vendors can also prove to the customer that their products have reliable security.
The problem is that in a hybrid deployment, neither the cloud vendor nor the on-premise solution vendor can take full responsibility for the end to end security. So customers have to build a seamless security wrapper around the hybrid architecture. They are asking for data encryption, data scrambling, security hardening, and secure network pipes, which ensures compliance to the latest and greatest data safety norms, and regulatory requirements. In today’s digital era, where we are orchestrating the coexistence of multiple systems, it is imperative that the security is fluid, adaptive and multi-layered. Next year you will hear much more about hybrid cloud security. This is a big challenge, but we believe companies will not have to give up the huge advantages that the hybrid cloud provides to get the security they need.
TREND THREE: DATA ANALYTICS
Data analytics will really take off in 2017. Significant progress has been made in the ability to crunch large amounts of data—both structured and unstructured—in a short amount of time. For example, companies are gathering all sorts of sales data and combining these data sets with social media data to generate insights they never had imagined before. Then there are the manufacturers who are building IoT sensors into their products, creating another flood of data that can be analyzed and used for new service offerings.
The use cases for data analytics are multiplying. As this happens, big data and data analytics are slowly but surely moving from experimentation, limited to a few applications, to the mainstream of how businesses work. The more companies use data analytics, the more applications they will want. For example, we have a manufacturing customer who saved millions of dollars by using big data analytics to simulate the functionality of a critical component in their manufacturing cycle. The simulation showed that there was a high probability that the part would overheat. By replacing it before it could be built into a consumer product that would reach tens of millions of customers, the company avoided what could have been a massive recall, a huge expense, and a crushing blow to its reputation.
Another important use case will be to build capabilities to leverage archived data for better decision making. This calls for strategy to extract and leverage archived data from multiple sources, data retention policies and prevalent regulatory requirements.
These trends will keep us busy all through the coming year and beyond. I look forward to hearing your views and what other trends you’re observing. Wishing all of you a very happy New Year!