There are a lot of traditions surrounding the New Year. Some people make resolutions. Many people start a new fitness regimen. In IT, we make predictions. Here are some of mine for 2016:
Big Data for Business. Big Data and tools like Splunk are great and as they’ve been introduced to technology people, they naturally see ways that these tools can provide value to IT. People are waking up to the real value of these tools – business data. If you’re using Splunk to manage IT stuff, get in front of it as a business data tool.
Target Clusters. Security is a big deal right now. There used to be a prevalent theory in IT security that likened attack targets to a herd of gazelles. You didn’t need to be the fastest gazelle to avoid death, just make sure you’re not the slowest. Today’s customers seem to breaking into separate herds.
- Cluster 1 – High value targets and progressive security organizations are getting control of their end points, their applications, and the data around their IT infrastructure. Some may be ahead of the game and some may be catching up, but they’re all trying to get to the same place.
- Cluster 2 – This mid-range group understands that there are issues but they lack the political will and budget to make any large strides. They’re trying to keep up with standards set 5 to 10 years ago, and they’re not going to make any new demands on the business regarding locking down desktops or applications.
- Cluster 3 – This group has, for lack of a better term, simply given up. They regularly ignore advice from their security department, or more proactively, they simply hire security professionals with the desire to keep quiet. Their plan is to simply weather individual breaches as they come, as they think this will be cheaper and easier than trying to get secure.
Obviously, clusters 2 and 3 have a bit of ostriching going on, but there is a large economic reality in play. No business wants to institute discipline or allocate large budgets to security regardless of how many doomsday articles are released. As more and more organizations experience increasing personal attacks, each business will have to make its own decision about changing their cluster. I think this maturity will take more than a year, but we’ll see people in clusters 2 and 3 realize the mistakes they’ve made in 2016.
Infrastructure is all about the Benjamins. Two or three years ago you might have seen companies experimenting with cloud solutions, regardless of whether or not it made immediate cost sense. Cloud was the future, and they needed to gain experience. Likewise, many cloud providers were losing money in their initial offerings. They felt that they could gain market share and make up losses in the long run. None of this is going to be part of 2016.
Many customers would also cut a hard line regarding standards feeling that having specific platform standards would lower costs in the long run. Similarly, vendors would lose money on initial deals hoping to become long-term standards. Again, not happening in 2016.
Everything needs to make economic sense in both an immediate and long-term way. Customers are going to make decisions based on cost/performance ratios; vendors are going sell to make a profit. In this respect, 2016 is going to be old school.
This leaves the door open to many new innovative solutions provided they make good economic sense. Converged solutions, targeted SSD solutions, virtual storage, virtual network, and focused cloud solutions will all make good headway in 2016 where they can show immediate cost to performance gains.
Getting Current. The acceleration of security issues is going to push customers to move faster on the update cycle. I think this has particular relevance with Windows 10. Windows 10 improves end point security in a significant way and I expect customers to be moving to this version much more aggressively than the slow migration we’ve seen in the last few Windows releases.
By the way, if you’re curious as to how good my predictions generally are, here are my predictions for 2015.