Channeling My Inner Groundhog: Predictions for 2014

More [Data, Cloud, Cyber], Faster and Secured

2013 was a big year for the cloud, mobile technology, big data and social media. What’s in store for the new year? I’ve identified six information technology trends that are poised to make a big difference in your IT operations and strategies.

Here’s what I expect to see in 2014 <crosspost to CSC.com>

Update(s):

  1. BYOT: Also, look at tefficient’s recent 1h2013 mobile data usage -> “no signs of saturation”
  2. BYOT: NYTimes “US Mobile Internet Traffic Nearly Doubles” -> 1.2GB/mo/user

Special thanks to the LEF for their insights in developing these predictions.

1. The “Outside-In” Enterprise Rises

Increasingly, innovation, information and value will all come from outside your organization’s own four walls. Until recently, these were created internally by organizations’ design, production, sales and marketing, and support teams. But the days of self-containment are over. Many of today’s top IT technologies and techniques — including cloud, everything as a service, post-PC mobility, the consumerization of IT, social media, crowdsourcing and community content — are happening outside the organization. In 2014, this trend will continue and accelerate.

For CIOs, this “outside-in” shift will require a new perspective. CIOs will need to re-architect their organizations’ internal networks, making them more like the Internet, able to fully exploit the online communities that have emerged in the outside world. And these changes will need to be done quickly. I expect this “outside-in” transformation to gain speed rapidly.

2. BYOD Shifts to BYOT

The well-documented BYOD (short for “bring your own device”) trend is just the tip of a much larger iceberg. To be sure, many employees want to use their personal mobile devices at work. But they also want to use their own apps, networks and all manner of Web applications and tools. To reflect this change, we need to shift the conversation to BYOT, short for “bring your own technology.”

Today, employees expect to have massive amounts of information at their fingertips, empowering them to make better, quicker decisions. Similarly, customers now fully expect your company’s website to offer features that include Google-quality search, the ability to mash-up information, and high-quality videos.

Are you ready? It’s my observation that most organizations are not. For them, this level of applications is still novel, even hard to imagine. The result is a large and growing gap between the expectations of customers and employees on the one hand, and the capabilities of enterprise IT on the other. It’s a gap that CIOs will be expected to close.

3. The Multi-Cloud Leads

2014 will be a big year for multiple clouds. You’ll have public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. And you’ll have more than one of each. Some of these clouds will be built by your internal IT department, while others will be sourced from external third parties.

This new, multi-cloud landscape will deliver new efficiencies for organizations. But it will also create new challenges for CIOs: How will they effectively manage information across multiple clouds? Who will help them ? And how will they avoid losing control?

Cloud Brokering will be the key. This involves a cloud management platform that lets CIOs take control of their multiple cloud environments. I also expect to see the emergence of enterprise app marketplaces and stores. These will help IT managers deploy IT workloads into various clouds with great agility and low levels of friction.

4. Big Data Gets Fast

You’ve already heard plenty about big data. But 2014 will be the year of big data that’s also fast.

While big data offers the promise of better business decisions, I believe that promise remains largely unfulfilled so far. Mainly, that’s because the process of transforming big data into actionable information is still too slow. Today, business happens in real time. Think how quickly you respond to tweets and text messages. Yet most big data analytics are still running on batch time.

Deriving insights from our huge data pools is a good start. Next, CIOs will need to deliver big data’s insights in real time (or near real time). You will also need to provide these insights to business users in the form of new and diverse applications. By enabling employees and customers to make more informed decisions faster, big fast data will finally lead to big business successes.

5. The “Internet of Things” Arrives, Finally

Computers process information, that’s a given. But in 2014, thanks to the rapid emergence of Internet-connected sensors and things (IoT), computers will also process physical systems and devices. What’s been called the Internet of Things is already transforming automobiles, personal healthcare devices, TVs, thermostats and appliances. Now, I believe, countless other goods will be intelligently connected, too.

As a result of the exploding Internet of Things, traditional markets like manufacturing and others are beginning to adopt technology like never before. They are Internet-connecting all of their assets in ways that allow them to streamline their own operations. They are even bringing commodity devices into their landscapes to provide more value at a lower cost point and more agility to their own development processes.

6. Governments Emerge as IT Leaders

Government agencies often receive a bad rap as IT backwaters. In 2014, that’s going to change. For the first time in decades, governments will emerge as IT leaders.

Openness is the key. Government agencies are quickly moving to open systems, open innovation, open software, even entirely open IT ecosystems. All this openness is creating new, massive efficiencies. Public agencies can now interact with their citizens as never before. Citizens, in turn, can now contribute ideas, insights, even code to their governments. The level of new value is potentially huge.

Behind this change is a shift from excellent or perfect technology to IT that is “good enough.” For public sector CIOs, this shift will be massive. And for those in the private sector, this could well be the new model — one they’ll have no choice but to follow.

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