Enterprise IT Trends for 2018

Some early thoughts on what to expect next year.

Introduction

Here we are at the halfway point of 2017. Rather than wait until the end of the year to make a few predictions about the new year, I’ll offer up a few now.

IT Finally Gets Serious about Simplicity

For years, many CIOs have lamented the states of their systems and architectures, especially when exciting new technologies have shown so much promise. This is particularly true at mature organizations that appear to be reluctant to embrace the future. Convoluted systems and spaghetti architecture inhibit plenty of firms from acting and reacting quickly, something that is becoming increasingly costly. I expect more of the holdouts to not only think seriously about how to streamline operations and systems, but actually begin the process.

IT Continues to Get Out of the Data Business

The IT-Business Divide is lamentably alive and well in many organizations. If you are not familiar with the term, Thomas Redman penned a particularly good post for HBR on the topic not that long ago.

For now, here’s a simple definition: it is the exhausting and ultimately counterproductive internal bickering that routinely takes place between IT and everyone else about which entity “owns” the data. Google away and you’ll find countless articles about bridging the traditional IT-business divide. Along with unnecessarily complicated systems, this divide hamstrings many organizations.

Many intelligent folks believe that individual lines of business (LOBs) should take responsibility for their data, not a central IT department. Expect more CXOs to adapt to this line of thinking.

Containerization Continues to Gain Momentum

What do Microsoft, Google, Amazon, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, and VMware agree upon?

Answer: The Open Container Project.

Containerization is Docker’s version of virtualization.

Containerization represents an evolution from service-oriented design, a topic that I cover in The Next Wave of Technologies. Its benefits include:

  • Easy scalability
  • Extremely lightweight, isolated execution environments
  • Abstraction of the host system away from the containerized application

Docker is arguably the big kahuna here. It’s not an overstatement to say that it’s revolutionizing application deployment. Not coincidentally, it’s also a big reason for Docker’s lofty valuation.

“Containerization is Docker’s version of virtualization,” says Ben Lamm, cofounder at Conversable. He continues:

It’s the same concept of what virtual machines used to do: it provides the opportunity to quickly create developer environments. It makes it easier to attract new developers. They can jump right in without having to download any dependencies that devices might need. It makes it easier for developers to get up and running and involved on a project. Finally and most important, it allows for multiple people working on a team to work in the same environment. That is, there’s no discrepancy that causes conflict. It removes the variation in development.

The benefits of preserving all the tools and elements of development environments in one place are hard to overstate—especially in the enterprise. Now that it’s become more mature, expect more inquiries on the feasibility of containerization in large firms.

Simon Says

Sure, many laggards will continue to drag their feet and cling to antiquated ways, but more and more leaders are coming around to these key trends.

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