Get Smart: It’s IT Prediction Season

The signs of year’s end are here: Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping…and IT industry analysts are making their annual predictions for the future. I’ve read some recent pronouncements on the key IT trends for 2015 from IDC, Gartner and Forrester (sorry, but that last one’s behind a pay wall). All three lists are different, but they share a grounding in a common theme: the imperative to get smart about the challenges and opportunities of digital business.

untitledThe topline take-away from IDC’s “CIO Agenda Predictions for 2015” is that over the next couple of years, CIOs will spend 80% of their time thinking about three things:

– Analytics (there’s the smarts)

– Cybersecurity (which makes perfect sense, given the next one)

–  Creating new revenue streams through digital services

Reading through the rest of IDC’s predictions list suggests the primary methods CIOs will be using to meet their goals. They will focus on speed, leveraging Platform-as-a-Service delivery and accelerating DevOps to better deal with application sprawl. They will re-architect to drive innovation and improved decision making, and will embrace what IDC has coined the “3rd Tier” (essentially, mobilized data and processes).

Gartner’s “Top 10 Strategic IT Trends For 2015” echo the same bottom line as IDC: its a digital world, and you better be ready. Mobile isn’t the first thing on Gartner’s list. It’s the first TWO things. Increasing device diversity, and apps everywhere. This means focusing on rapid mobile app delivery, without concern for device types.

Next is Gartner’s extension of IoT to the “Internet of Everything.” Think you are dealing with a lot of data now? Wait till smart machines and sensors start telling you everything they know about your customers, and your products, and your operations. Cloud suffuses four of the remaining predictions. Whatever this “Digital Business” thing really is, it’s coming in a SaaS/PaaS model.

Forrester’s “Predictions 2015: The Age Of The Customer Is Set To Disrupt The BPM Market” is (duh) specifically focused on what’s going to happen to BPM software. The trends Forrester sees here are in-line with IDC and Gartner’s takes on the broader world of IT. BPM will expand beyond back-office operational efficiency to support customer-facing digital business. This will come through what Forrester calls “Low-code Platforms” (i.e., BPM-driven Application Development) enabling rapid delivery of apps designed from the outside in (that is, starting first with the customer experience and working back from there). Cloud ecosystems across what Forrester defines as a 4-tier architecture (clients/delivery/aggregation/services) will lead the way in the digital future.

So, there’s general consensus on the key elements in getting an IT organization’s arms around digital business. It’s all about rapid delivery of innovative applications to exploit digital opportunities. Get mobile – for real, with data and processes that are device-agnostic. Leverage the cloud  – it’s built for speed, and it’s proven that it can be at least as secure as on-premise systems. Manage data better and get it in decision maker hands faster. Think outside in and be ready to adapt.

What’s funny is that a very short time from now, we won’t even talk about “digital business” anymore. It’s just going to be “business.” So get ready. And Get Smart. We’re here to help.

-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications