Top 10 Business IT Trends That Every CTO Should Know

Ville Ingman
On Sep 21, 2017 7:00:00 AM

Top 10 Business IT Trends That Every CTO Should Know

A comprehensive guide to the most important business IT trends and must-know predictions about the future of business IT.

As a CTO, it’s your job to keep your company’s tech up to date and, when possible, ahead of the curve. And for the more development-oriented readers, do read ahead and get an idea what your boss is talking about. 

As such, it’s important that you understand what the world of business tech will look like in the coming years. By staying informed on industry developments and trends you’ll be able to remain relevant and competitive, continuing to deliver the best possible outcomes for your organization.

This guide is our list of the top 10 business IT trends that every CTO should know. It’s the best look ahead on where the industry is going and the key takeaways to pay attention to in order to keep your company functioning at its highest level. 

Now, without further ado...

1. Going Agile, Still on the Agenda

One might assume that the massive advancement in tech over the past decade would have made for faster, more efficient IT systems. Interestingly enough, according to the Office of Economic Co-operation and Development, the opposite has happened. 

The productivity level being measured is generated by dividing an index of actual output by the number of hours worked. Even in the world's most tech-savvy countries, the average level of productivity has decreased when compared to the previous decade.

Focus on People, Processes, and Outcomes

IT has certainly become more cost efficient, however that efficiency hasn’t translated to increases in business goods or services. As such, in an effort to reverse this trend, the industry standard for the measurement of productivity is shifting from the amount of data managed by each employee to business outcomes. 

“Doing more with less,” will become simply “doing more, more quickly.”

Pressure is high for businesses to shift into more innovative platforms throughout, leading an increasing number of IT execs to adopt agile methodologies. It’s time to retrain teams to adopt what will inevitably prove to be a more efficient AND productive way to operate. 

Adopting Agile in Your Organization

As agile is adopted, executives begin to work more closely with smaller teams, turning to them for feedback more regularly as well. Agile is all about empowering these small teams to drive innovation, using data to make sure the right information is available to every employee when they need it.

Change of this magnitude begins at the top. 

Executives need to be more involved than ever in order to successfully implement agile methodologies within their organization.

Furthermore, going agile means providing your teams with the tools to operate at a higher level, and most of those tools will be cloud-based.

2. Cloud Adoption Is Accelerating

Ed Anderson, Research VP at Gartner says, "Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world." While cloud-based systems are certainly nothing new, their adoption is increasing at a dramatic rate. 

In fact, according to a recent article from Forbes, “In 15 months, 80% of all IT budgets will be committed to cloud solutions.” That's a massive increase from where we stood just a few years ago. 

Buying Models Are Changing

One of the most notable changes comes from a shift in buying models. Businesses are shying away from purchasing technology assets in favor of cloud-based solutions, both in services and infrastructure. They’re finding a reduction in cost and increased time to value to be some of the most appealing benefits of going cloud-based.

Increased Adoption and Simplification of Cloud Platforms

CTOs will be empowering their teams to develop new skills to meet the requirements of these “cloud-first strategies.” Skills like cloud monitoring, cloud capacity management, cloud workload performance, and cloud security management will become increasingly relevant as more operations move to the cloud.

Providers are seeing increased competition, a driving force behind their consolidation, focus and their clear efforts to establish their products amongst the crowds. We're seeing multiple providers handling different aspects of a single business, allowing for specialization and expertise that leads to improved security and performance. 

As a whole, providers are finding themselves pressed to deliver a greater level of simplicity, automation, agility, functionality, cognition, and analytics. What that means for the CTO of today is that the cloud of the future will be cheaper, easier to implement, safer, and better for business. 

The world of business IT is moving to the cloud. It’s just a matter of when. With storage, management, virtualization, and convergence behind them, it's clear that enterprise adoption of cloud services will continue to pick up speed. 

3. Internet of Things Is Going Mainstream

Enterprises are beginning to understand the true value of the Internet of Things when it comes to providing data to supply chains, the customer experience, service capabilities, and more. 

Enterprises are looking more closely than ever at platforms that will help them integrate IoT into their business strategy. Pairing IoT with things like Industrial Internet, 5G networks, and various sensor-based devices will provide enterprises with a wide variety of opportunities to enhance productivity and operations.

The massive level of data provided by these technologies will then be used to enhance machine learning, which will, in turn, drive its own massive improvement in productivity. 

Smart IT

Smart IT brings Operational Technology together with Information Technology, leading to the evolution of “smart industries.” Sensor data (IoT operational tech) will be used to augment and enhance the data from IT, giving businesses a complete understanding of various processes and events. 

For example, “smart” retail stores pulling information from social media and sensors in their stores as a way to optimize their supply chain systems. 

4. Business Apps Turn to Mobile Web

Native mobile apps have reigned supreme in the world of business apps, but that reign is coming to an end. Whereas in the past native was the only platform able to accommodate the features and functionalities that made for a superb user experience, web apps have all but caught up. 

Web Apps Deliver All of the Benefits without the Drawbacks

With their ability to produce nearly identical functionalities and deliver an equivalent user experience, the benefits of native apps no longer outshine their negative aspects. 

With mobile web, businesses don't have to develop and maintain apps on multiple platforms. Developing for both Android and iOS will become a thing of the past as web apps prove themselves fully capable of delivering all of the benefits of native apps.

Business apps will see a barrier to entry decrease without the need to download web apps to use them. Furthermore, businesses will see development costs decrease when only needing to develop and maintain for a single platform. Time to launch will be slashed as well, and updates will be done on the fly. 

The future of business apps will be changing dramatically over the coming years and those changes will have significant implications in the way businesses establish their mobile brand and conduct mobile business.  

In fact, there is so much in store for business apps that we’ve created a powerful guide to understanding business app trends and what they mean for your company. Be sure not to miss it!

Download the CTO's Guide to Business App Trends

5. IT Goes Bi-Modal

Whereas startups have the benefit of entering into the cloud age from their conception, most enterprises are working with legacy systems while testing new systems as they slowly transition into future technologies. 

As such, IT is going bi-modal, meaning that many organizations will have two models designed to deliver information in a unique way. Traditional models focus on legacy systems and provide a level of security and accuracy, while nonlinear puts its emphasis on implementing new technologies to enhance speed and agility. A combination of legacy and new under the same roof is a common case for enterprises. 

As IT evolves, so will your systems. It’s up to your team to implement these changes in a way that supports both traditional and incoming tech.

6. Centralized Data Hubs 

With the amount of data enterprises gather increasing exponentially, and the value of that data climbing as well, IT teams are establishing centralized hubs. These hubs allow for improved protection, management, and governance of data. 

Your centralized hub will need to scale beyond file system limitation, aggregate data from multiple sources, and deliver search and governance capabilities from both private and public clouds.

7. Flash Storage Overtaking Hard Disk Drives 

Speaking of data hubs, based on 5-year projections for power, cooling, maintenance, management, and floor space, the cost per bit for flash storage has already undercut that of HDDs. 

That eliminates the main argument against going all flash, plus you won’t have to worry about determining tier 1 vs. tier 2 data. Projections indicate revenues for flash will soon overtake that of HDDs as more enterprises take advantage of this information. 

8. Virtual and Augmented Reality Meets Business

Virtual and augmented realities are finding applications in business as they establish themselves as powerful tools to enhance the way brands support their customers. Traditional keyboards and displays will make way for new paradigms for communication and collaboration.

With the overlays possible from AR and entirely new perspectives provided by VR, enterprises in everything from transportation to healthcare to education will find applications for this tech that will inevitably enhance outcomes across the board. 

As such, IT will become responsible for determining the most effective way to implement these technologies/tools into their business systems as a way of enhancing deliverables.

9. Predictive Analytics 

As enterprises work to predict events that will impact their business, predictive analytics is gaining traction as a reliable method for improving the speed and accuracy of important business decisions and optimizations. 

With the help of Big Data warehousing and analytics, these businesses are able to understand their customer journey like never before, as well as optimize business systems based on hard data to dramatically increase the efficiency of their operations. 

Brands are implementing the use of in-memory databases and streaming analytics platforms to gather real-time insights on developing trends. Many are connecting these data streams to Hadoop to analyze them further and storing them for the potential of further future analysis.

The more data you gather you collect, the more capable you become when it comes to making real-time optimizations and predicting future outcomes. 

10. Sinosphere Established as Innovation Leader

The Sinosphere—China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam—has become a hotbed for innovation that will soon empower businesses around the globe. Both technological innovation and business information systems are being embraced by cultures who are becoming more and more open to taking risks and heavily invest in mathematics, computer education, and sciences. 

The global market will soon see a wide variety of innovations coming from the region. The IT environment may look very different in just a few years because of this.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to keeping your organization relevant and competitive, it’s important to understand the changes being implemented by cutting-edge enterprises and IT teams around the world. This list above gives you a taste of what’s to come while providing the spark to begin implementing changes within your own company. 

It’s now up to you to determine which of the trends outlined above could provide your company with the tools to deliver optimal outcomes and operate at a higher level of efficiency. 

Make sure you don't miss our free guide

Download the CTO's Guide to Business App Trends

Ville Ingman
Ville Ingman is one of the old boys in the Vaadin team. A true Vaadiner for over 10 years already. Sharing thoughts and interesting phenomenons from the Vaadin ecosystem. Stay tuned.
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